LIFESITENEWS REPORT: BY REBECCA MILLETTE: KINGSTON, Jamaica, June 20, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Although abortion is currently illegal in the Caribbean island of Jamaica, the effort to fight recent attempts at its legalization, as well as the back alley abortion trade, has required an enormous amount of energy and ingenuity.
The leaders in this effort are The Missionaries of the Poor (MOP), an international monastic order of brothers and priests, with over 500 members worldwide, founded in 1981 by Rev. Fr. Richard Ho Lung in Kingston, Jamaica. The order also recently started a sisterhood for nuns as part of their work helping pregnant women and new mothers.
Relying exclusively on donations, the missionaries are dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor, the homeless, HIV/AIDS victims, mentally handicapped youth and adults, and the elderly. Currently, they sustain missions in Jamaica, Haiti, Africa, India, the Philippines, and North Carolina.
LifeSiteNews recently interviewed Rev. Fr. Charles Susai, Secretary General and Project Co-ordinator of the MOP, to learn more about the group’s work.
The MOP, Rev. Susai told LSN, not only lead the way in fighting efforts to legalize abortion in Parliament, but they seek to provide an alternative to abortion for women in crisis pregnancies through their missionary efforts.
The Holy Innocents Women in Crisis Center, established by the MOP, is expected to be in operation in December 2011. The massive facility in Kingston, Jamaica will house a daycare centre for up to 200 children, counseling rooms, medical centre and homes for pregnant women and new mothers. The entire endeavor relies on the generous volunteer work of local medical personnel and donations.
A Pro-Life Apostolate
The MOP first felt the need for a pro-life apostolate in 2006 after two of the brothers found aborted babies thrown in a garbage dump. Then, in 2008, international organizations and lobbyists, such as the European Union, put heavy pressure on Jamaica to legalize abortion, with the promise of funding. Jamaican politicians responded by tabling an abortion bill to legalize killing the unborn.
The bill went as far as to say that if doctors refused to perform abortions they could be penalized for up to six months in prison and charged $250,000 Jamaican dollars.
“Jamaica is particularly aimed at because we are the biggest English-speaking island in the Caribbean. If you get through Jamaica, you can get through the entire Caribbean region,” MOP founder Rev. Ho Lung told Jamaica’s Gleaner News in March 2011.
With the threat of legalized abortion looming, Rev. Ho Lung, who is well known in Jamaica, “took the abortion debate to the streets.”
Together with lead members of the ‘Coalition for the Defense of Life’ in Jamaica, he spearheaded a series of pro-life breakfasts designed to open the abortion debate and inform concerned parties, gathering together pastors, teachers, doctors, students, professionals, and entrepreneurs.
Over a period of six to eight months in 2009, the breakfasts were held almost every other week. Doctors Doreen West and Wayne West of the Coalition in Defense for Life would show the reality of abortion and explain how, from a medical point of view, abortion would not solve any problems.
“We initiated it, but it’s the people who are calling for more of these meetings because they don’t know much about abortion and they want to learn,” Rev. Ho Lung said.
According to a Don Anderson poll survey from 2009, published in Jamaica’s Daily Observer News, just under 70 percent of adult Jamaicans were against abortion. Sixty-seven percent said that they opposed abortion, 15 percent were in favor, and 18 percent were “ambivalent” on the issue. The polling company concluded: “it is safe to make the point that Jamaicans are pro-life supporters.”
Rev. Ho Lung also confronted the issue before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament, demanding that they listen to the voice of the people and deliberate the issue fully before pushing abortion legislation. He appealed to Jamaica’s Christian heritage and its Constitution, which, he said, was designed to promote life.
Following debate, the Jamaican Parliament quietly put the abortion bill aside, protecting the legal status quo in the country.
The Holy Innocents Center
Rev. Ho Lung says his motivation for the Holy Innocents Women in Crisis Center in Kingston came in response to a question Parliamentarians put to him, “what is your answer to the abortion issue?”
While he agreed that for many women it could be a burden to have another child, Rev. Ho Lung has encouraged women to bear the burden, while simultaneously seeking to provide the means to make their burden lighter. “These little babies are either people or they are not people,” he said. “We cannot say they are tissues they might be in the womb but they have a separate existence from the mother.”
The title for the Center came from the Biblical account of the holy innocents, who were killed by King Herod in his search for the Christ Child. Construction began on the Center in January 2010, and will open in December. However, pregnant mothers and teenage pregnant girls already receive support, encouragement, and aid through the MOP.
Although the MOP have over 200 brothers and 6 priests working in Kingston, in order to better provide care for the mothers and their babies, the missionaries founded an order of sisters. Currently, the order has six nuns who will be working as full-time directors of the new facility.
Two of the sisters, both from Canada, have six and thirty years experience, respectively, in nursing. There are also two American sisters and two Jamaican sisters, and other young women interested in the order.
At the medical center pregnant mothers will be offered assistance, such as counseling and medical support. The facility already has doctors and nurses from Kingston who have offered to volunteer their time, as well as others in clinics where the pregnant mothers can be sent for further consultation.
“The doctors have been extremely kind, knowing the type of work we do, so they volunteer,” Rev. Susai told LSN.
In addition to the doctors and nurses, 60 volunteers help to run the facility, which is capable of housing up to 20 women. The missionaries will hire some paid staff to work in the daycare, which will support up to 200 babies.
Sr. Joanne Belmonte of the MOP testified that receiving an ultrasound machine was, for the missionaries, a “day of joy and tears.” “I don’t know who was more excited, the moms or us,” she said.
“This machine will be a very useful tool/weapon in our new ministry of trying to protect unborn babies in the mother’s womb,” she added. “That is what Holy Innocents is all about - reaching out to these moms/women offering them a different ending.”
“We will be offering counseling for the pregnant women in crisis, along with spiritual support and Pre and Post Natal care. If need be we will offer lodging for the pregnant women. After the birth of the baby and if mom has to go to work/school, we will offer Daycare.”
Funding the Pro-Life Cause
Despite the tremendous generosity of doctors, nurses, and volunteer staff who donate their time to the cause, the MOP require further funding, volunteers, and supplies in order to be able to open the Holy Innocents Center this December.
“We are not very good beggars,” Rev. Susai told LSN, “we trust a lot in the Lord.”
The group fundraises through a musical group that does traveling performances, as well as through responses to their newsletter and friends of the missionaries.
“We need volunteers as well monetary support given the fact that our works are all done free of cost,” Rev. Fr. Charles told LSN.
To learn more about the Missionaries of the Poor, visit their website http://www.missionariesofthepoor.org/
Rev. Fr. Richard Ho Lung, founder of the MOP, also appears weekly on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) on a show called “Church and the Poor”.
To support or volunteer with the Missionaries of the Poor in their apostolate and pro-life work, clickhere.
Donations may also be sent to the MOP in the U.S.:
Missionaries of the Poor
P.O. Box 29893
Atlanta, GA 30359
PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TO LIFESITENEWS SUMMER CAMPAIGN:
Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – Vietnamese Catholics are mourning the passing of Fr Luke Trần Khánh Tích, a priest “who said little, but did a lot”, especially in the field of education. The clergyman passed away on 18 June at the age of 78. In view of his example, the faithful want the Church to step up its commitment to education, in accordance with the principles of Christian ethics, as well as stand firm on unity with the Vatican and the pope.
Fr Luke was born on 13 October 1932 at Tôn Đạo Parish, Phát Diệm Diocese, north Vietnam. He and his family fled to the south in 1954 when Ho Chi Minh took power in the north and established a Communist regime.
Never one to take the limelight, he worked in education until 1975 when the pro-American government of South Vietnam fell and North Vietnamese troops entered Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), an event that was followed by the expulsion of missionaries and years of hardship for the country’s Catholics.
“Father Luke did a lot for the Church. He did it well and in silence,” Prof Hung, of Ho Chi Minh City University, told AsiaNews. “It’s regrettable that the government is unwilling to take advantage of the skills and talent of Catholic priests,” he added.
Catholics in fact have done a lot in the field of education. However, many facilities and schools built by the Church are now lying in ruin.
A public school teacher Hảo knows that all too well. The late priest was much loved by “the more than 5,000 members of the Binh An ha parish.” He will be sorely “missed because he worked hard and well,” even though he “was a man of few words.”
With the fall of Saigon in 1975, “the revolutionary government took over the educational system,” Fr Joseph T. explained. Fr Luke was thus out of a job. Nonetheless, he was able to engage in a “personal revolution” and act as the community’s guide “to serve the Church and the people of God, through his pastoral work and manual labour in the parish.”
Fr Luke Trần Khánh Tích is one of the many examples of churchmen, who through the centuries, embodied the dedication of the Catholic Church to the social field and worked to help the people of Vietnam, a heritage that was brought abruptly to an end in 1975 with the closure or seizure of hospitals, schools and charitable agencies.
As card Jean Baptiste Phạm Minh Mẫn put it, now it is time for the Vietnamese Church to renew its initiatives, be more mature and stronger than the divisions that come from outside, so that it can face, peacefully, all the challenges of modernity in communion with the Vatican and the pope.
SCHOOL RETREAT ROSARY LEADS TO 40 YEARS OF PRIESTHOOD
DIOCESE OF PARRAMATTA REPORT:
|Fr Ted Tyler. Photo: Virginia Knight|
On Sunday 26 June, Catholic Diocese of Parramatta priest Father Ted Tyler will celebrate the 40th anniversary of his ordination to priesthood.
The thought of the priesthood often entered his mind as a boy, but it was during a school retreat in his last year of secondary education that the decision came.
“I remember it very vividly – it happened while saying the Rosary during that retreat,” Fr Ted said.
Fr Ted has been Assistant Priest at St Thomas Aquinas Parish at Springwood for more than four years, and feels very much at home in the Blue Mountains.
“I have never had any doubt about God, nor Christ, nor the Church as Christ’s creation, nor my Catholic faith,” Fr Ted said.
“Since my ordination, I have never had any doubt about my priesthood. My calling is to help people know and love Christ.”Read full story in our Priests of Parramatta section
In the more arid south, increasingly unpredictable weather conditions threaten to increase malnutrition among children, particularly between the months of October and March, when food is scarce. Chronic malnutrition is often caused by a prolonged lack of food. The medical and health care workers in charge of identifying malnutrition in children are turning to CRENAS, the most severe with complications are sent to CREN. Generally, children remain 10 days at CREN and after gaining some weight are sent back to CRENAS, where mothers and children are helped with support and training, ready to use therapeutic food to take home. It is highly nutritious food: peanut paste that contains micronutrients and is a real salvation for an area of the country where 60% of the population live more than 5 km away from the nearest health center.
Moreover, according to some experts, protein deficiencies also contribute to these "local trends" or taboo regarding the consumption of certain foods in areas where meat is an unaffordable luxury for most people. Children are forbidden to eat eggs and chicken and sweet potatoes can be eaten only when picked. Chickens are considered "dirty" and there is the belief that eating eggs will make men and women dumb.
St. William of Vercelli
ABBOT AND FOUNDER
Feast: June 25
ST. WILLIAM, having lost his father and mother in his infancy, was brought up by his friends in great sentiments of piety; and at fifteen years of age, out of an earnest desire to lead a penitential life, he left Piedmont, his native country, made an austere pilgrimage to St. James's in Galicia, and afterward retired into the kingdom of Naples, where he chose for his abode a desert mountain, and lived in perpetual contemplation and the exercises of most rigorous penitential austerities. Finding himself discovered and his contemplation interrupted, he changed his habitation and settled in a place called Monte-Vergine, situated between Nola and Benevento, in the same kingdom; but his reputation followed him, and he was obliged by two neighboring priests to permit certain fervent persons to live with him and to imitate his ascetic practices. Thus, in 1119, was laid the foundation of the religious congregation called de Monte-Vergine. The Saint died on the 25th of June, 1142.
|Matthew 8: 5 - 17|
|5||As he entered Caper'na-um, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him|
|6||and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress."|
|7||And he said to him, "I will come and heal him."|
|8||But the centurion answered him, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.|
|9||For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, `Go,' and he goes, and to another, `Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, `Do this,' and he does it."|
|10||When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, "Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.|
|11||I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,|
|12||while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth."|
|13||And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go; be it done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed at that very moment.|
|14||And when Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever;|
|15||he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and served him.|
|16||That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick.|
|17||This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases."|