Sunday, December 29, 2013

POPE FRANCIS - 3 KEY WORDS TO LIVE IN PEACE AND JOY WITHIN THE FAMILY...

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday turned his attention to the dramatic predicament of migrants and refugees who not always find a welcome, but often become victims of human trafficking and slave labour.

Speaking to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, the Pope said that on this first Sunday after Christmas, the liturgy invites us to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. 

He said that the Gospel narrates the Holy Family’s painful exile as it searched for refuge in Egypt and said that Joseph, Mary and Jesus lived the dramatic condition of refugees, “marked by fear, uncertainty and difficulties”.

Unfortunately today – Pope Francis said – millions of families face this same sad reality. Almost every day the television and the newspapers offer news reports about refugees that “flee hunger, war and other grave dangers, and go in search of security and a dignified life for themselves and their families”.

And Pope Francis continued pointing out that in far away lands, even when they find work, “not always do refugees and immigrants find a true welcome, respect, and appreciation for the value that they bring. Their legitimate aspirations clash with complex situations and difficulties that sometimes appear unsurmountable”.

So – the Pope said – as we fix our gaze on the Holy Family of Nazareth in that time when it was forced into exile, “let us think of the drama of those migrants and refugees who are victims of rejection and exploitation, who are victims of human trafficking and slave labour”.

Pope Francis went on to say: “let us also think of those other exiles – I would call them ‘the hidden exiles’ who may be marginalized within their own families – the elderly for example who sometimes are treated like burdens”.

The Pope concluded his address pointing out that Jesus wanted to be part of such a family and be faced with these difficulties so that no one may feel excluded from God’s loving closeness.

The Holy Familiy’s escape to Egypt – he said – shows us that God is there where man is in danger, where man suffers, where he flees, where he is faced with rejection and abandon. But – he continued – God is also there where man has a dream and hopes to return to his homeland and to freedom, where he has a plan for his dignity and for the dignity of his family.

Finally, praying for families across the world, Pope Francis reminded those present that there are three key words to live in peace and joy within the family: “may I?” , “thank you”, and “sorry” – words that help lay the foundations of love, reconciliation, tenderness and mutual help and forgiveness.

After the recitation of the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis turned his attention to the upcoming Concistory and to the next Synod of Bishops which will focus on the theme of the family: He asked the faithful to pray with him for the work of the Bishops and for families throughout the world. 


SHARED from Vatican Radio

CHRISTIANS IN INDONESIA CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS OUTSIDE CHURCH DUE TO EXTREMISTS

ASIA NEWS REPORT: Despite two favourable Supreme Court rulings and two years of waiting, Protestant Christians in West Java still cannot use their place of worship after it was sealed off under pressure from fundamentalists. Christmas services are held under the protection of more than 300 police and security agents. Underground religious activities show what "freedom for minorities" means in "modern and democratic" Indonesia, Christian leader says.


Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Members of the Yasmin Church in Bogor, West Java, celebrated Christmas in a temporary shelter, clinging to the hope that one day their church can reopen.
Two years ago, district authorities seized the church used by the Protestant Christian community for weekend services and major holidays.
They took the building for alleged irregularities in its construction permits, following pressures from local Islamic extremists, who are bent on denying equality rights and freedom of worship to the city's small but significant religious minority.
Their pressures have proved stronger than two rulings by the Indonesian Supreme Court in favour of the Yasmin Church, ordering the building's return to the community and its reopening.
In fact, local authorities have refused to enforce the Supreme Court's decision in order to appease the demands of fundamentalist movements.
 "We have been forced to hide for some time now," going "from one place to another," said Dori Susanto, 60. Until "our rightful place of worship" is not returned, "we shall continue to do so," she added.
In 2006, district authorities granted the community all the building permits required by the law, only to cancel them under pressure from the Muslim majority, stirred up by extremist Islamic groups.
For this reason, members of the GKI Yasmin Church celebrated another Christmas at a location far from their church, whose doors remain are still sealed by order of the Bogor Municipality.
The Protestant community held the services in a makeshift shelter, which had a roof but was otherwise open to the weather, surrounded by at least 300 police and security officers. Not far away, Islamists and members of radical Muslim groups stood by watching the scene.
Still, the faithful were not intimidated and tried instead to participate in the various events. "We're doing the right thing," some of them said, "and we are not afraid."
Their leader and spokesperson Bona Sigalingging backed their stance, saying that church members are determined and resolute to continue the celebrations out in the open or at emergency sites, until their place of worship is not returned.
"Underground religious activities are a clear signal to the government," he added. "In an ostensibly democratic country, there is still the discriminatory practice of sealing off their places of worship."
A prominent local Muslim leader named Turmudi, joined in Christmas celebrations at the Yasmin Church, stressing that it is the duty of Muslims to "maintain ties with others ", including religious minorities.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has seen a rise in the number of attacks or acts of intolerance against minorities, including Christians, Ahmadi Muslims and others.
Aceh is the only Indonesian province that enforces Sharia (Islamic law), following a peace deal between the central government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM); however, in many other parts of the country, people are subjected to more radical and extreme visions of Islam.
In addition, certain rules such as the notorious building permit (Ijin Mendirikan Bangunan or IBM in Indonesian) are used to prevent construction or seal off places worship, like the Yasmin Church in West Java.
Indonesia's constitution does recognise freedom of religion, but Christians have become the victims of acts of violence and abuse in the recent past.

In December alone, at least five Christian places of worship had to close their doors because of pressure from Islamists, local sources report.
SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

POPE FRANCIS PRAYER TO THE HOLY FAMILY

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday invited the faithful to join him sprititually in prayer for the upcoming Concistory and for the next Synod of Bishops which will focus on the theme of the Family.


Celebrating the Feast of the Holy Family on this first Sunday after Christmas, the Pope entrusted the work of the bishops to Jesus, Mary and Joseph and recited this prayer:

PRAYER TO THE HOLY FAMILY


Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendour of true love,
to you we turn with trust.


Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.


Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again 
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.


Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful 
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.


Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer.


Shared from Vatican Radio