In Sri Lanka
The Archdiocese of Colombo published the official logo for Pope Francis’ Jan. 12-15, 2015 visit on its website.
View the website for the meaning behind the symbols
The Holy See Press Office on July 29 announced that Pope Francis, accepting the invitation from the civil authorities and the bishops, will make an Apostolic trip to Sri Lanka from 12 to 15 January and the Philippines from 15 to 19 January 2015.
In the Philippines
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Media Office launched on Monday its website dedicated to Pope Francis’ visit.
The website intended to update the public on latest developments regarding the much awaited papal visit became accessible on Aug. 4, less than a week after Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila in a simultaneous announcement with the Holy See, revealed in a Manila press briefing the dates of Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines.
An icon of the website showing a smiling Pope Francis with the words “Mercy and Compassion” on the home page of CBCP’s website also links to the website for the papal visit. CBCP had earlier explained that Pope Francis’ pastoral visit to the Philippines is centered on the theme “Mercy and compassion.”
Aside from news, CBCP statements and other information and multimedia resources related to the visit, Pope Francis’ visit website also features the video “We are all God’s Children“, the official theme song of the 2015 Apostolic Visit, and the National Prayer for the papal visit.
Pope Francis will be the third pope to visit the Philippines after Pope Paul VI in 1970 and Pope John Paul II in 1981 and 1995.
Social media offer the public a peek into the hearts and minds of people who were on the doomed Malaysian airlines flight that crashed in East Ukraine on Thursday reportedly killing all 298 passengers and crew.
Malaysia Airlines released the full flight manifest Saturday of the persons on board the flight MH17 that was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and urged family members and friends to contact the airline.
View MH17 flight manifest here
Passenger Ariza Ghazalee posted on Facebook a picture of 15 pieces of luggage on a sidewalk about to be loaded into a car that would take her family to Schiphol Airport, the Netherlands for the flight to Malaysia and a new life, a July 18 post on the Wallstreet Journal blog reports.
The blog describes photos, the story of the Ghazalees’ European vacation, plans to migrate from Kazakhstan to Malaysia, and even reports a Taylor University’s (Malaysia) confirmation that her son was on the flight that was believed to have been downed by a surface-to-air missile.
Read the WSJ full blog here
Their plane that reportedly left Amsterdam at 12.15 pm, local time was believed to have been shot down by the missile causing it to crash into grasslands and flower fields in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia rebels.
As authorities investigate the alleged attack, relatives and friends of passengers anxiously await information on their loved ones.
Filipino fatality Irene Pabillon Gunawan was reportedly traveling with her husband, Hadiono, and their two children to join a family reunion in Quezon Province, northern Philippines. Her family is reportedly waiting anxiously for instructions from the Department of Foreign Affairs on the remains of their loved ones.
Relatives in the Philippines have spoken with Rappler social news network about their grief and sense of loss in the death of a loving, generous and caring person.
A text message that came in to her sister-in-law’s cell phone had Irene signing off as passengers were boarding the plane. “Be careful always that the trees won’t fall on you…” she added in her text message in Tagalog language.
Parts of the Philippines was suffering from the effects of typhoon Glenda (International Name Rammasun) then.
Irene who had spent around 30 years in the Netherlands with her Indonesian husband who worked for Malaysian Airlines was reportedly sending siblings and a nephew through school. Kim, the nephew, recalls one of Irene’s Facebook posts in which she comments on relatives plans for a night of drinking and videoke. She reportedly asked them to wait for her so they can have a videoke concert and go drinking.
Reading WSJ and Rappler’s full story on MH17 passenger Irene Pabillon Gunawan and family pinches the heart, and reminds one that MH17 is not just a story of geopolitics , but is more so a story of persons, many of whom are ordinary, non-politicized people who are unfamiliar with issues and conflicts outside their own context.
Sadly, missiles and weapons of war in this age strike down more than just their physical targets. They shatter countless lives, hopes and future of innocent people and their families across the globe, far away from the center of the conflict.
To join “Prayers Are Awesome’s” Facebook prayer for MH17 Ukraine victims, click prayer sharing
The priest who harangued and scolded an unwed teenage mother during the baptism of her baby has apologized and his religious order has promised to discipline the priest.
The baby’s grandmother recorded the incident on her cellphone and later uploaded it to her Facebook page. She also wrote about the humiliation the priest subjected her daughter to.
Read full report
The baptizing priest, Father Romeo Obach belongs to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) – Cebu Province which issued on July 8 its statement on Fr. Obach, CSsR
Following is the full text of the Redemptorists-Cebu statement :
CONGREGATIO SS. REDEMPTORIS
Don Ramon Aboitiz St.
6000 Cebu City, Philippines
1. We, the Redemptorists of the Province of Cebu are deeply saddened by the incident that happened on July 6, 2014 at the Sacred Heart Chaplaincy in Jagobiao, Mandaue City. The said incident involved one of our confreres, Fr. Romeo Obach, CSsR. We were made aware that the incident was videoed and uploaded on social media and has since gone viral.
As a religious community we DO NOT CONDONE such an UNACCEPTABLE ACT as it is contrary to the Charism and Mission for which our Congregation was founded – compassion especially to the poor and the most abandoned. We sincerely feel for the family and to them we extend our heartfelt apology.
2. An INTERNAL INVESTIGATION is underway. Rest assured that appropriate SANCTIONS on the part of the involved will be applied once the investigation is complete so that justice may prevail.
3. We will reach out the aggrieved family at the appropriate and most opportune time to address this particular matter. We respect their situation at the moment and sympathize with their hurt and anger over this matter.
4. The Redemptorist Community has always upheld the rights of the poor and disenfranchised since the first missionaries arrived here in Cebu in 1906. And this has been our conviction through the decades. It is but unfortunate that the incident involving Fr. Obach occurred, as he has been a good missionary for many years. He has served in many capacities and various places heeding the challenges of the congregation, yet he is also human and prone to lapse of judgment and imprudence.
5. We appeal for calm and sobriety from everyone even as we try to assess both the outcome of the investigation of our confrere and at the same time reach out to the family. We appreciate that if you have further concerns, address them to the SUPERIOR of the Redemptorists.
6. May this also serve as a reminder to us in the religious life and the clergy of our role as pastors: that we are called to serve and not be served and to offer our lives for all (cf. Mt. 20:28). On behalf of the Redemptorist Community of Cebu, we extend our sincere and humble apologies.
Fr. Alfonso Suico, Jr, C.Ss.R
Filipino Family Series Part 1 :Cell Phone Mom
Manila (CiA) – Hong Kong domestic worker Emilie Gaje said a prayer of thanks after hearing her eldest daughter tell her on the phone that she was to graduate from college last month.
Gaje’s whole family has lived such a “poor and rugged life”. She could not think the graduation of the little girl she left behind 15 years ago to work overseas as anything but “a blessing from God.” Her daughter can now have a chance at a decent and productive life in her central Philippines home in Iloilo province, or anywhere her bachelor’s degree in tourism will take her.
Gaje, 38 year-old mother of four spoke with CiA from her employer’s home in Tai Po, New Territories, about her overseas work, her family and her faith. She paused periodically then apologized for sobbing.
Her family, she said, consists of her mother, father, grandmother, siblings and four children. Her husband has not been in touch with the family since she moved their children from their house in Badiangan barrio to her parents’ house in 2001 after learning they were not getting fed enough, that he was holding drinking sprees in their house and hurting the children.
Though far away, she kept in touch. The overseas mother explained:
All the years I was working here, I regularly called my children every week on my day-off. I was focused on them. My eldest was six when I left my two daughters and our son with their father in 1999. Our youngest was only three so I left her with my mother. From here I would call my husband’s cell phone and then my mother’s.
I would have a heavy heart after calling my husband because the children would say they do not eat. My husband was eaten up by his vice – drinking with friends. When he got drunk he got violent with the children.
The children would tell me when we talked that they do not eat and that their father is hurting them all the time. Neighbors told me about this also, so I went home to get the children out of there and brought them all to my parents’ house.
Transnational families and parenting have evolved over the 40 years of the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) phenomenon, reported Religious of the Cenacle Sister Malen Java.
The former Cenacle regional superior and current counselor, spiritual and retreat director to priests religious men and women, and lay Catholics of various nationalities lectured on the theme Faces of the Family: The Overseas Filipino Workers’ Challenge on the first day of the May 13-16 Asian Conference on the Family.
Read the full article on Sr. Java’s presentation on transnational families here
[Working on: Filipino Family Series Part 2, Splendor of OFW Family]
Reporters Without Borders, (RWB) an organization that monitors attacks on journalists has cited a Vietnamese Catholic priest and other Asians among 100 “information heroes” for standing up to powerful forces that suppress information and journalists.
Vietnamese Father Le Ngoc Thanh, a member of the Redemptorist congregation in Vietnam is a citizen-journalist who worked amid Communist government harassment.
In its citation, Reporters Without Borders noted that Father Anton le Ngoc Thanh is a journalist and a Catholic priest whose more than a decade of work for Vietnamese Redemporist News, a Catholic news organization, has caused him numerous problems with the Vietnamese authorities.
In 2012 he was stopped for questioning on his way to Bac Lieu in the south of the country, where a woman had set fire to herself in protestagainst her daughter, the blogger Ta Phong Tan, being put on trial. He was held for several hours for causing a traffic accident while travelling on foot.
He was arrested again last year during a demonstration in support of the blogger and activist Dinh Nhat Uy, convicted for organizing a campaign for the release of his jailed younger brother. Thanh is under constant police surveillance and is frequently prevented from covering and publicizing the human rights abuses that he has witnessed.
Among the Asians, Iran, China, Azerbaijan, Vietnam are each represented by at least three heroes.
Some journalists cited work in democracies, while others, such as Jila Bani Yaghoob, who runs the Kanoon Zanan Irani (Centre for Iranian Women) website, work under “the most authoritarian regimes,” RWB’s announcement said.
Among women, Filipina Rowena Paraan, a journalist for 25 years now chairwoman of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines was cited for her role in the organization’s long-time journalists’ safety program. “This is a major issue in a country where 32 journalists were massacred in Ampatuan in Maguindanao province in November 2009, a scar on the national psyche which is unlikely to heal,” Paraan’s citation reads.