CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: SAT. JAN. 1, 2011: HEADLINES-
Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images
Egyptian Christians mourn outside the Al-Qiddissine (The Saints) church following a midnight mass car bomb attack on the church in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria on January 1, 2011.
NATIONALPOST REPORT: ALEXANDRIA, Egypt - A bomb killed at least 17 people outside a church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria early on New Year’s Day and the Interior Ministry said a foreign-backed suicide bomber may have been responsible.
Dozens of people were wounded by the blast, which scattered body parts, destroyed cars and smashed windows. The attack prompted Christians to protest on the streets, and some Christians and Muslims hurled stones at each other.
Egypt has stepped up security around churches, banning cars from parking outside them, since an al-Qaeda-linked group in Iraq issued a threat against the Church in Egypt in November.
Egypt’s leaders were quick to call for unity, wary of any upsurge in sectarian strife or other tension as the country approaches a presidential election due in September amid some uncertainty about whether President Hosni Mubarak, 82, will run.
Mr. Mubarak promised in a televised address that terrorists would not destabilise Egypt or divide Christians and Muslims. He said the attack “carries evidence of the involvement of foreign fingers” and vowed to pursue the perpetrators.
A statement on an Islamist website posted about two weeks before the blast called for attacks on Egypt’s churches, listing among them the one hit. No group was named in the statement.
The Muslim Brotherhood, seen as Egypt’s biggest opposition group and which decades ago renounced violence as means to power in Egypt, condemned the attack.
“There are people who want this country to be unstable, and all fingers point to outside hands being behind this incident,” senior group member Mohamed el-Katatni said.
The circumstances of the attack, compared with other incidents abroad, “clearly indicates that foreign elements undertook planning and execution,” the Interior Ministry said.
“It is likely that the device which exploded was carried by a suicide bomber who died among others,” it said in a statement. State media had earlier blamed a car bomb.
The embassy of the United States, a close ally of Egypt, expressed condolences to vctims of the “terrible event." Other Western and regional states also condemned the bombing.
An Iraqi deputy interior minister, Hussein Kamal, urged Arab states to cooperate in the fight against terrorism and to help stop Arab militants training in Iraq and then returning home.
Health Minister Hatem el-Gabaly told Reuters there were 17 confirmed dead, 12 of them Christians and others not yet identifed. He said initial assessments indicated 70 wounded.
The church said 20 people were confirmed killed and remains had been found indicating 4-5 others had died. State media earlier reported 21 killed in the blast, which struck as worshippers marking the New Year left the church.
“We condemn this unfortunate incident that threatens our nation, its security and safety of its citizens. What happened is a dangerous escalation of sectarian events that target the Copts,” said a statement from the Alexandria Council of Priests.
Christians make up about 10% of Muslim-majority Egypt’s 79 million people. Tensions often flare between the two communities over issues such as building churches or close relationships between members of the two faiths.
Analysts said this attack was on a much bigger scale and appeared far more organised than the kind of violence that usually erupts when communal frustrations boil over.
After protests overnight, more than 100 Christians protested again on Saturday near the Coptic Orthodox church that was hit. “We sacrifice our souls and blood for the cross,” they chanted. Police used teargas to disperse protesters.
Egypt’s Christians have been threatened by the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq, which attacked a church in Baghdad two months ago in what it called a response to the mistreatment of Muslim converts by Egyptian Copts.
A statement posted on an Islamist website called on Muslims to “bomb churches during the Christmas holiday when churches are crowded”. It was not clear who was behind the statement that listed churches in Egypt and elsewhere, including Alexandria’s Church of the Two Saints that was targeted.
The Orthodox Coptic Christmas is on Jan. 7.
Pope Benedict, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, denounced violence against Christians in his New Year address.
Analysts said they did not expect a return to the kind of Islamic militant insurgency crushed by Egypt’s government in the 1990s. Nevertheless, the attack could add to sectarian tension and points to influence of foreign Islamist groups.
“The first and most likely possibility is that a sleeper cell of al-Qaeda group carried out this operation and this would mean that al-Qaeda has penetrated the Islamic political movement in Egypt,” said analyst Nabil Abdel-Fattah.
Alexandria governor Adel Labib “accused al-Qaeda of planning the bombing," state television reported.
Officials are swift to play down sectarian differences and have been keen to emphasise national harmony before the September presidential poll.
Mr. Mubarak, 82 and in power since 1981, is expected to run if he is able to. Gallbladder surgery in March revived questions about his health, but he has returned to a full schedule.
Sectarian tension is fuelled in part by Christian grievances such as laws making it easier to build mosques than churches.
In November, hundreds of Christians clashed with police, and with some Muslims who joined in, in Cairo in a protest against a decision to halt construction of a church. Officials said the Christians had no licence to build. Two Christians died, dozens were hurt and more than 150 detained.
Last January, a drive-by shooting of six Christians and a Muslim policeman at a church in southern Egypt sparked protests.
UCAN REPORT- Catholic church bells in Taiwan will ring out in unison tomorrow to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China (ROC).
Father Otfried Chan, secretary general of the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference, told ucanews.com that at least 100 churches and a few Catholic institutes in seven dioceses across Taiwan will ring bells for 100 seconds on New Year’s day.
The bishops’ conference is providing prerecorded bells for churches which do not have any.
|Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan (third left) and other religious leaders announcing the centenary celebrations|
In Taipei archdiocese, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and the Fu Jen Catholic University have announced the bell tolling and the celebration Masses to be held at 10:00am.
The Chinese section of the Radio Veritas Asia will also broadcast 100 seconds of bell tolls at 5:00am and 6:00pm, said Matthew Chung, section director.
This is the Catholic Church’s response to the Ministry of Interior’s appeal to all religions to offer blessing to Taiwan as the celebration of ROC’s centenary begins.
Interior Minister Jiang Yi-huah invited Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei, president of the bishops’ conference, and leaders of other religions to a press conference on Dec. 28 to announce the blessing activity.
The government also encourages all Taiwanese to “give blessings to the world, to the country, to our relatives and friends and ourselves,” he said.
The Protestant Church has invited different denominations for joint worship while the Buddhist associations in 24 counties and cities as well as 1,752 temples will gong their bells and drums also at 10:00am.
An uprising in Wuchang, central China, on Oct. 10, 1911, launched the Xinhai Revolution that led to the overthrown of the Qing Dynasty and the official founding of the ROC on Jan. 1, 1912.
However, during the civil war that began in 1945, the Communist Party took over the mainland and founded the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, 1949 while the ruling Kuomintang (nationalist party) set up the ROC government in Taiwan which has lasted until now.
In 2011, Taiwan will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ROC with activities leading up to the National Day on Oct. 10. Across the straits, mainland China will also celebrate the centenary of Xinhai Revolution.
Winter Chant Intensive 2011
January 3-7, 2011
Old St. Patrick’s Church
New Orleans, Louisiana
Instructors: Dr. William Mahrt and Scott Turkington
Registration is closed for this event.
This in-depth week of chant study will give you the confidence you need to be an excellent singer of Gregorian chant or a director of a chant schola in your parish. This year’s Winter Intensive offers tracks for beginning and advanced students.
This Winter Intensive 2011 will take place at Old St. Patrick’s Church in historic New Orleans, Louisiana. Registration begins at 1:00pm on Monday, January 3 with daily classes running through Friday at noon. The week’s study will culminate with participants singing at Mass in the extraordinary form on Friday afternoon.
Instruction on Two Levels
Scott Turkington of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptistin Charleston, South Carolina, will offer his famed and rigorous (and fun!) course for beginning and advancing singers.
Dr. William Mahrt of Stanford University will offer an advanced class for experienced chanters interested in broadening their abilities both in terms of scholarship and performance practice.
Friday’s Mass at 2:00pm (Epiphany propers) will conclude with a solemn Te Deumsung in honor of the Vigil of Our Lady of Prompt Succour, the patroness of New Orleans. Her miraculous intervention has saved the city from fire, flood, and other disasters; and most notably during the Battle of New Orleans on 8 January, 1815. After Our Lady saved the city from the invading British army, a perpetualTe Deumwas vowed on that date. At St. Patrick’s we will observe this unique custom, and in celebration of the city’s French heritage, the Gregorian chant melody will be sung alternating with the organ versets by Louis Marchand. Andrew Mills, organist.
Tuition for each of the courses (beginning or advanced), including all instruction, the Parish Book of Chant, and catered lunches and on Tuesday through Friday, is $320. The CMAA is entirely dependent on your donations to make scholarship assistance available. Write to us if you would like to make a donation.
The Parish Book of Chant(included in tuition) and the Graduale Romanum or the Gregorian Missal. The Graduale Romanumand the Gregorian Missal, along with other Solesmes and CMAA book titles, will be available for purchase at the Chant Intensive book table.
|'The Last Journey of Christ'. Artist: Kutjunga, Balgo.|
By Peter Gresser
Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Priest Fr Eugene Stockton has spent a lifetime searching for Australian Spirituality.
While his journey has taken him through doctorates in theology and philosophy, a licentiate in sacred scriptures and studies of archaeology, anthropology and social issues, Fr Eugene is certain he has discovered that the heart of Australian Spirituality lies in Aboriginal Spirituality.
In his 1995 book The Aboriginal Gift: Spirituality of a Nation, Fr Eugene theorised that modern Australian society is influenced by Aboriginal Spirituality’s tenant of contemplation (known as ‘dadirri’ in Indigenous Australian culture), as well as its celebration and reverence of life. Fr Eugene’s book also found parallels in Aboriginal Spirituality with the teachings of Christ.
“There’s a number of sources of our Australian Spirituality: our environment, our history and the Aboriginal influence. This influence is growing stronger and stronger, especially through the popularity of Aboriginal art,” Fr Eugene said.
“Aboriginal art is powerful and provocative – and it’s having an effect on the Australian psyche. It’s working by osmosis: Aboriginal feeling is creeping into our national feeling.”
‘THE CLEAREST PICTURE OF ABORIGINAL CONSCIOUSNESS’
|'Madonna'. Artist: Richard Campbell.|
The book features the varied responses by several Aboriginal artists to the Christian message and its relevance to their tradition culture – and reveals the extraordinary depth of understanding of the Gospels held by the artists.
“Art is the most natural and the clearest expression we have. In Australian Indigenous culture, this is especially so: Aboriginal people are highly sensitive to the hearer, so will express themselves (verbally) in a way that will accommodate (the audience’s) way of thinking,” Fr Eugene explained.
“That’s why the art is so important: when it’s created solely as an expression, it provides the clearest picture of Aboriginal consciousness and feeling.
“I wanted to draw out the theology in the paintings in this book, rather than focus on the aesthetics. What I found was these paintings embody a profound theology.”
‘THE DEPTH OF ONE SOUL CAN REACH OUT TO ANOTHER’
|'Fifth Station'. Artist: Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann.|
“I found myself profoundly affected by the (editing) process and the paintings. I have this feeling that the depth of one soul can reach out to the depth of another soul,” Fr Eugene said.
“There’s a consciousness that reaches out from the artists in this book that contacts what is deep within us.”
Fr Eugene’s search for Australian Spirituality and his exploration of Aboriginal Spirituality have led him to walk side-by-side with Indigenous Australians through more than 40 years of ministry.
Fr Eugene first began working with Aboriginal people in 1968 and throughout the 1970s. In the 1980s, he helped established a new model of self-determination for Indigenous people involved with Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in Sydney. Fr Eugene was also the first Assistant Priest of the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta’s Aboriginal Catholic Ministry (now Aboriginal Catholic Social Services), when the Diocese formed in 1986.
Fr Eugene said while Aboriginal art was a good entry point, investing some time and complementation were among the best ways to gain a greater understanding of Aboriginal Spirituality – and, in turn, Australian Spirituality.
“The art is good place to start, but the main tenants are also quite easily accessible: the proud attitude to land and life and the strength of the concepts of community and family,” Fr Eugene said.
“But further to this, there is unifying idea of mysticism. I believe that it is in this mysticism that we (all Australians) are going to find our meeting point.”
Aboriginal Church Paintings – Reflecting on our Faith is available through Blue Mountain Education and Research Trust. (RRP: $20 Bulk Orders: $15 each)
Blue Mountain Education and Research Trust254 Great Western Highway
Lawson NSW 2783
Ph 02 4759 1034
Fx 02 4759 3654
|Luke 2: 16 - 21|
|16||And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.|
|17||And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child;|
|18||and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.|
|19||But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.|
|20||And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.|
|21||And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.|