Saturday, December 14, 2019

Sunday Mass Online : Sun. December 15, 2019 - #Eucharist - 3rd of Advent - Gaudete Sunday

Third Sunday of Advent

Lectionary: 7
Reading 1 IS 35:1-6A, 10
The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.

Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return
and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
they will meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning will flee.

Responsorial PsalmPS 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10.

R. (cf. Is 35:4)  Lord, come and save us.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD God keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Lord, come and save us.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Lord, come and save us.
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations.
R. Lord, come and save us.
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2JAS 5:7-10

Be patient, brothers and sisters,
until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,
being patient with it
until it receives the early and the late rains.
You too must be patient.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

AlleluiaIS 61:1 (CITED IN LK 4:18)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 11:2-11

When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ,
he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question,
"Are you the one who is to come,
or should we look for another?"
Jesus said to them in reply,
"Go and tell John what you hear and see:
the blind regain their sight,
the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear,
the dead are raised,
and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me."

As they were going off,
Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John,
"What did you go out to the desert to see?
A reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see?
Someone dressed in fine clothing?
Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
Then why did you go out?  To see a prophet?
Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom it is written:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way before you.

Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."

Saint December 15 : St. Mary di Rosa the Foundress of the Handmaids of Charity

St. Mary di Rosa

Born: November 6, 1813, Brescia, Italy
Died: 1855, Brescia, Italy
Canonized: 12 June 1954 by Pope Pius XII
Foundress of the Handmaids of Charity of Brescia, also called the Servants of Charity. Born into a wealthy family in Brescia, Italy, on November 6, 1813, by age seventeen she was running her father's household and caring for the girls in her father's mill and estate. In the cholera epidemic of 1836, she became well-known as she directed a home for girls and begame another residence for deaf and mute young ladies. In 1840, she became superior of a community that evolved into her congregation. The women of the Servants of Charity ministered to the wounded on the battlefields of northern Italy and in hospitals. Maria died at Brescia on December 15. She was canonized in 1954.

Wow World Record set as close to 11 Million Pilgrims visit "Our Lady of Guadalupe" Largest Shrine of Pilgrimage in Mexico

Another record at the largest Catholic place of pilgrimage -
At the Guadalupe Shrine in Mexico, the largest Catholic pilgrimage site in the world, the influx of pilgrims on the feast day of the Mexican Madonna continues. From the beginning of the week to noon on December 12 alone, 10,868,737 people entered the Guadalupe Basilica, the authorities of Mexico City announced on Thursday afternoon (local time) according to the portal, further pilgrims were expected for the afternoon and evening hours , The previous year's record was again set - -10.6 million pilgrims in 2018, 7.3 million in 2017.

In the basilica built in 1974, contains the cloak displayed above the altar, which shows the well-known image of Our Lady. According to the Archdiocese of Mexico City, 15,600 people an hour are using the conveyor belts that run directly beneath this for the visitors, with many pilgrims contenting themselves with seeing the picture from afar and then leaving the church due to the large crowds. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims had reached their destination in foot marches lasting days to weeks, many of them with Mary statues, pictures or flags.

The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, celebrated the "Rose Mass" on Thursday afternoon. It commemorates the moment when the Indio Juan Diego on 12 December 1531 presented the then Bishop Fray Juan de Zumarraga (1468-1548) with roses picked on behalf of Saint Mary as proof of the truth of his apparitions, whereupon the cloak of Guadalupe's grace became visible. At that time, the Virgin of Guadalupe announced her presence to the people at a "moment of the worst signs of deterioration in the indigenous cultures of our country" and had shown herself as a mother, the cardinal said. In order to heal today's "wounds" in society, loving relationships must be strengthened, starting with the families.

The rector of the Guadalupe Basilica, Salvador Martinez Avila, referred to the high crime and insecurity in Mexico, which according to observers has long since reached the extent of a continuing "war". These developments are not accidental, but are "signs of a sick society". The "fever" of unemployment and international migration, which Mexico has been dealing with "caravans" for a year, are symptoms of a "bad infection in the heart of the world". Mary of Guadalupe gather people at their sanctuary "to show that now is the time to be saved," said Martinez.

This Marian feast is celebrated worldwide  on December 12 and is enjoying increasing popularity. In the Vatican, where the image of Our Lady has found its way into the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis celebrated one floor up the Mass for Latin America, which has become a tradition since 2012, with priests, seminarians, believers and embassy representatives from South American countries living in Rome. As he emphasized, the Virgin of Guadalupe bore the features of a mestizo, i.e. a descendant of European and indigenous ancestors.

Maria had become "mestizo to be mother of all nations and mother of all," said the Pope. Her work also led to God becoming a mestizo in a different sense, since her son Jesus Christ was "true God and true man" in Christian doctrine.
Edited from - Image Source: Google Images - Pilgrim Reader

Saint December 14 : Blessed János Brenner a Young Hungarian Priest who was Martyred by Communists

A young Hungarian priest who was lured into a forest and beaten and stabbed to death is to be the latest East European martyr declared blessed by the Catholic Church.
Fr. Janos Brenner, who died in 1957, will be beatified May 1. He was just two weeks shy of his 26th birthday when he was murdered.
“The communist dictatorship sought to trample on the faith and frighten the Church, subduing and quenching the light emanating from it,” Bishop Janos Szekely of Szombathely said in a statement on the diocesan website.
Fr. Brenner had been a Cistercian novice, but when the communist government banned religious orders in 1950, he entered a diocesan seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1955.
Bishop Szekely  said Fr. Brenner had adopted a Cistercian motto, “Burn and give light,” in his ministry, and had run afoul of Hungary’s communist regime for his work among young people and rural families.
“His fate shows how another deadly enemy for dictatorships is the nation — the nourishing bonds which bind us to our ancestors, our mother-tongue, land and culture, and to the community where people plan and dream about their future together,” the bishop said.
Born into a devout Catholic family in Szombathely, with two brothers who also became priests, Fr. Brenner attended Cistercian schools. He entered the seminary when Hungary’s religious houses were being suppressed by communist decree in 1951 and was ordained after finishing studies at Gyor when Szombathely’s seminary was forcibly closed.
Assigned to a parish in Rabakethely, near the Austrian border, he attracted regime hostility during a wave of repression following the 1956 Hungarian Uprising and narrowly survived an attempt to kill him on his motorbike.
On the night of Dec. 14, 1957, after rejecting his bishop’s offer of a safer post, the priest was asked by a teenager to minister to a dying relative, so he set out on foot with the Eucharist and oils to the neighboring village of Zsida.
He was found by villagers in the roadside forest the next morning with 32 stab and boot wounds. Parishioners blamed drunken police and communist officials; parishioners were barred from attending his burial.
During the 1989 collapse of communist rule, a chapel was dedicated on the site of the priest’s death.
In an April 13 statement, the diocese said the beatification Mass, to be concelebrated by Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes, and Hungary’s Catholic primate, Cardinal Peter Erdo, would be moved from Szombathely’s Cathedral Square to a park west of the city because of the large numbers wishing to attend.

Pope Francis inaugurates new Scola Occurrentes and says "... that is what I notice in Scholas; that is, to "believe" for freedom."



San Calixto Palace
Friday, December 13, 2019

What happened to hearing all this happening in Scholas?

I think the first thing that comes to me is: "express, freedom, not be afraid, uninhibited" All those words that have come to my heart. The ability to get out what you have inside, but that in an accompanied way, not only. If you start to get out what you have inside alone, you can go crazy or invent defenses so you don't go out. When you do it in a group, the group contains you and helps you, and together they make their way, they make history.

The capacity for disinhibition - which I saw - which creates in the boys and girls who participate in Scholas, is great and healthy.

Disinhibit yourself in the good sense of the word, that is, that there is nothing that does not allow you to express yourself. And that has a word that expresses everything: poetry.

That is, what Scholas "triggers" in each one is "poetry."

Poetry does not mean alienating into things that are flying overhead. But, poetry is - as the etymology of the word says - "creativity."

And the man and the woman are either creative or remain infants, boys, they don't grow up. What makes you grow is creativity, and that is what I see in all these. That each one has grown.

And this creativity accompanied by symbols, stories, stories that are symbols. Starting with the "crazy" of La strada and today the "Telemachus." I still have on my desk the little stone that was given to me the first year after the madman of La Strada. I have it there, and I remember that.

It is a whole path, but a path of poetry, a poetry that leads you to creativity and to understand the human path. The great "models" of human cravings, human wisdom or human failures, but they show you the way, and that is what I notice in Scholas; that is, to "believe" for freedom.

And one thing I said with the first ladies, is that Scholas does not proselytize, creates freedom. Because you bet on what each one has in his heart, which is the ability to grow and make his future. That's what I feel.

Saint December 14: St. Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini (1808-1858) - a Maronite Monk who Loved the Blessed Sacrament

St Nimatullah Youssef Kassab Al-Hardini (1808-1858)

Youssef Kassab Al-Hardini was born in 1808 in Hardin, Lebanon. As a child, he was strongly influenced by the monastic tradition of the Maronite Church. Four of his brothers became priests or monks, and Youssef himself entered the Lebanese Maronite Order in 1828.
The young man began religious life at the monastery of St Anthony in Qozhaya, near the Qadisha (Holy Valley), where he remained for two years until he began his novitiate and was given the name "Nimatullah". During the novitiate, he deepened his life of personal and community prayer and dedicated time to manual labour, while also learning to bind books.
Love for the Blessed Sacrament
Nimatullah was especially noted for his love of the Blessed Sacrament. During his free time - frequently at the sacrifice of sleep - he was often found in the chapel on his knees, arms raised in the form of a cross and eyes fixed on the tabernacle.
On 14 November 1830 he made his religious profession and was sent to the monastery of Sts Cyprian and Justina in Kfifan to study philosophy and theology. On 25 December 1833 he was ordained a priest and became director of the scholasticate and a professor.
During the two civil wars of 1840 and 1845, he suffered greatly with his people. His brother, Fr Elisha, suggested he withdraw to a hermitage, but he replied:  "Those who struggle for virtue in community life will have greater merit".
He observed that the ordinary, everyday life is a continuous martyrdom, since the monk must always be a model to his brother monks, guarding himself from becoming a source of scandal; instead, the hermit lives alone, away from all external temptations.
It was also a decisive moment in his spiritual life, and he offered himself to God for Lebanon and his Order. His motto was:  "The greatest is he that can save his soul", and he would often repeat this to his brother monks.
The "first concern' of a monk
Fr Nimatullah was at times also reprimanded by his superiors for being too hard on himself and too merciful and indulgent towards his brothers. He understood holiness in terms of communion and fraternal charity and is said to have remarked:  "A monk's first concern, night and day, should be not to hurt or trouble his brother monks".
Throughout his life he had a special devotion to the Virgin Mary, his "source of strength". He never tired of repeating her holy name, and carried a special place in his heart for the mystery of the Immaculate Conception (a dogma proclaimed by the Church in 1854). After the Angelus he would often repeat:  "Blessed be the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin".
In 1845 the Holy See appointed him Assistant General of the order. A man of culture, Fr Nimatullah asked the Superior General to send monks to further their studies at the new college founded by the Jesuits in Ghazir.
A truly humble man of God
He served as Assistant General for two more terms, but refused to be appointed Abbot General:  "Better death than to be appointed Superior General", he is reported as saying.
His reluctance to assume positions of authority in his Order came from his deep humility and his earnest belief that he was far from living in continual contact with God, so necessary to properly serve the monks and the Order. Even when he was Assistant General, he remained humble, refusing to have a special servant accompany him and attend to his personal needs, as was the custom in the Order at the time.
"O Mary, I entrust my soul to you'
In December 1858, while teaching at the monastery of Kfifan, he became gravely ill, a result of the bitter cold in that region. His condition worsened, leading to his death on 14 December. He died holding an icon of the Blessed Virgin and saying:  "O Mary, to you I entrust my soul". He was 50 years old.
When the then Patriarch Boulos Massad heard of Fr Nimatullah's death, he commented:  "Congratulations to this monk who knew how to benefit from his monastic life".
While still alive, Fr Nimatullah was known as the "Saint of Kfifan", a monk who gave himself completely to his brother monks and neighbours during a time of suffering in his Land and difficulty within his Order.
Fr Nimatullah was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 10 May 1998.
Full Text Source: - Image Source:

Pontifical Academy for Life hosts Interreligious Symposium on Religion and Medical Ethics - Full Report with Video

Pontifical Academy for Life Release: The day opened with the Archbishop Paglia' speech.

Then Dr. Sultana Afdhal' speech. "Our mission has been to build a healthier world through global collaboration. It is therefore a natural progression for us to be here in Vatican City to actively promote dialogue between people of faith and medical experts around issues that have such a profound affect on individuals, their families, their communities, and healthcare workers.

The message of Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State.

Messaggio del Segretario di Stato

Your Excellency, I offer cordial greetings to you and to the scholars and experts from different religious traditions assembled in Rome in these days for the International Symposium on Religion and Medical Ethics. Palliative Care and Elderly Mental Health, as you explore this complex issue of pressing concern.

The theme of this event, co-sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Life and the World Innovation Summit for Health, seeks to place the elderly - especially those suffering from mental health issues and those in the final stages of life -at the very centre of our consideration. The frailty and vulnerability of people in need of palliative and other types of care should never permit a merely utilitarian attitude to take hold. Tragically, they are all too often overlooked, rejected or even "discarded with an attitude of abandonment, which is actually real and hidden euthanasia" (Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Elderly, Saint Peter's Square, 28 September 2014). Hence the urgent need that they should find a solid support for their God-given dignity and worth in the ethical and spiritual vision shared by the various religions.

May the ecumenical and interreligious cooperation, evident in this Symposium, continue to be fruitful in defending the care to which the elderly are entitled and in building a culture of encounter and acceptance in which they are esteemed and loved.

In expressing these sentiments, I have the honour to convey the Holy Father's prayerful good wishes for the Symposium and its important deliberations.

Yours sincerely in Christ, 

Pietro. Card. Parolin - Secretary of State

 The role of different Religions

1. Muslim Approach to Bioethics Questions:
A. Life-Sustaining Treatments (LSTs). Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) & Mechanical Ventilation
•Brain death: IOMS, IIFA, IFA; •Medical futility: ECFR (2003), IFA (2015), Fatwa no. 12086 (1989); •Arguments; •Forgoing optional treatment; •LSTs harms usually override possible benefits; •DNR policies: Fatwa no. 12086; •HMC; •North West Armed Forces Hospital (NWAFH); •King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center.
B. Artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH)
•IIFA 2015 (vague); •Muslim physicians: euthanasia in disguise (qatl al-sabr); •WISH Report: “Do not force your patients to [consume] food or drinks. Truly, God feeds and waters them”; •Benefit-harm assessment: Alleviating the symptom of hunger? Most dying patients are no longer experiencing hunger because the organ systems are shutting down; •Accumulating fluids in unwanted places because of the dysfunctional GI tract (taking in food, digesting it to extract and absorb energy and nutrients, and then expelling the remaining waste as feces).
C. Conflicting Values.
• Dying without pain or with a clear mind; •Benefit (reducing pain) Vs. harm (suppressing consciousness); •Good balance: religious rituals; •Main problem: full and permanent sedation; •Harm: Foreseen BUT unintended effect of shortening a patient’s life; •ECFR 2003: Indirect euthanasia; •IOMS 2004: Permissible; •“The intensified administration of a strong medication to stop a severe pain, although it is known that this medication might ultimately end the patient’s life, is not forbidden”. 
•Communicating bad news: truth or compassion; •Classical works on the etiquettes of the physician (adab al-tabib); •Contemporary works on medical ethics; •Communicating such news by using gentle words (lutf min al-qawl), e.g.; •“Make your will (awsi)”; •“Eat whatever you want”; • Sensitive, compassionate delivery of bad news; •To who? The patient and/or family.
2. Christian Approach: Dignity following the compassionate Jesus Christ
•We are in favour of the death with dignity (too); •Dignity is to choose the moment?; •For Christians is to accept the natural moment; •For Christians the dignity is in the person; •is intrinsic, can not be taken…; •But, there are indignity modes to die; •Alone, in pain, without relief, in breathlessness, without to know, …; •Don’t care, or don’t care well, provokes perception of indignity in the dying person; •Without care some one could perceive himself as miserable; •With care:  or the more dignius!: I am worth to be cared, I want to life to be cared.
3. A Jewish approach.
Con le Cure Palliative ci prendiamo cura del sofferente e curiamo i sintomi del disagio causato dal dolore, il vero dolore. Non rimaniamo impassibili di fronte alla sofferenza. Nella Bibbia la persona che soffre grida e il suo grido sale fino al cielo. Noi abbiamo il compito di raccogliere quel grido. E' imperativo occuparci delle Cure palliative perchè forniscono un'alternativa sistemica alla cultura della morte. 
4. Role of Religione / Medical aspects
A shared decision-making? That is the problem. Pope John Paul II, Evangelium vitae. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City:
•§65 ‘Euthanasia must be distinguished from the decision to forego so-called ‘aggressive medical treatment’, in other words, medical procedures which no longer correspond to the real situation of the patient, either because they are by now disproportionate to any expected results or because they impose an excessive burden on the patient and his family. … Certainly there is a moral obligation to care for oneself and to allow oneself to be cared for, but this duty must take account of concrete circumstances…’                     
England and Wales: Mental Capacity Act (2005), Code of Practice: 
5.31 All reasonable steps which are in the person’s best interests should be taken to prolong their life. There will be a limited number of cases where treatment is futile, overly burdensome to the patient or where there is no prospect of recovery. In circumstances such as these, it may be that an assessment of best interests leads to the conclusion that it would be in the best interests of the patient to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment, even if this may result in the person’s death.
‘Notwithstanding its promise, SDM [supported decision-making] has its limits. Undeniably, there are situations where despite the decision-support offered, a patient remains unable to make an informed treatment decision. The comatose patient provides a pertinent example, but similar considerations hold for a range of persons with other conditions, such as late stage dementia or psychosis. Accordingly, SDM does not make competence assessment and substitute decision-making superfluous. That said, reasonable accommodation requires health professionals to exhaust the available resources of SDM before they take recourse to substitute decision-making.’Scholten M, Gather J. (2018) Adverse consequences of article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for persons with mental disabilities and an alternative way forward.  Journal of Medical Ethics, 44, 226–233.
The questions are opened, but in any case we need to be persons in communion with the others.

Final Day. Elderly Mental Health

The key-question for Elderly people: not do you live alone but: do you feel alone? Final Q&A
Some speeches:
Mental Health and the Wellbeing of Older People (Most Reverend Noel Simard, Bishop of Valleyfield, Québec, Canada)
- The Inherent Dignity of the Elderly Person
-  i) The elderly person remains a person
   ii) Must continue to becoming a person
   iii) As social being, needs the community
• It is essential to include spirituality and religion in the healing process in order to improve the well-being and the quality of life of the elderly with a mental problem or disorder,
• « What is good for the soul may also be good for the body,
• A holistic approach for health presupposes a holistic concept of the person, an integration of care, a Covenant of care, compassion and love,
• An ethics of frailty is necessary to learn about the meaning of dependency and vulnerability, and to develop human relationship based on solidarity, reciprocity and compassion.
Mental Health of the Elderly from an Islamic Perspective (Professor Mohammed Ghali)
•Cannot be separated from the larger Islamic moral framework; •Individual dimension (in case of competence); •Theological; •Juristic; •Moral/spiritual; •Actualization of beautiful names and attributes of God; •Role models and examples in the scriptural sources; •Continuous moral/spiritual development/cultivation; •Social dimension (particularly with lack of competence); •Collective and participatory framework; •Family relationships; •Medical team; •Broader social connections/implications/stakeholders.
•Importance of underlying conceptualization of oneself and one’s place in the universe; •Role of religion and culture; •Paying special attention to the role of mental health in elderly care; •Individual and collective responsibilities; •Incorporation of the elderly perspective; •Role of family members; •Role of specialized medical staff; •Involvement of various stakeholders; •Development of and continuous revision of special/specific protocols; •Should be based on collective reflections and deliberations; •Should cover various physical, social, religious, and financial needs; •The sick; •The elderly; •The dying. 
Christians and Muslims agree about the social importance of Elderly people. They are a living memory. Take care of their economic, social, spiritual, health situations. 
Safeguarding the Mental Health of Elderly patients receiving Palliative Care (dr. Ferdinando Cancelli)
•Ensure that patients and their families are offered regular opportunities to talk to staff about their changing situation and concerns. •Use the patient’s name as they like to be addressed; •Make time for the patient; •Create the opportunity to talk about spirituality; •Always seek to enable a patient to express their preferences; •Offer a private room for the patient; •Be clear about the relative benefit and need for sedative medication; •Ask the patients/family if they have any particular religious beliefs; • Consider offering the sacrament of communion and involve the chaplaincy team as soon as possible. 
•Depression remains underdiagnosed even in institution: too often we forget that depression is in no way a consequence of normal aging; •Suicide remains an important cause of death for the elderly person (2010: 2873 people older than 65 yrs, 30% of total suicide); •In the older than 85 years group, the prevalence of suicide is twice as high as that of the 25-44 age group; •Men older than 95 yrs of age kill themselves on average 10 times more than the general population; •Safeguarding  the mental health of elderly patients receiving palliative care is the better way to avoid euthanasia and assisted suicide.
•«I like this place because death, when it comes, still finds us alive!»
The bridge of Love: dementia (Prof. Marco Trabucchi)
We must improve our ability to care both at the personal and social levels, considering that a dementia cure is far away.
In the world there are 4 kinds of persons: Those who cared 4 someone Those who are caring 4 someone Those who will care 4 someone Those who needed care or will need it.
Other subjects: "I think we need to talk WITH elderly people not just ABOUT them". Dr. Mohammed Ghaly from @HBK
Prof. Paulina Taboada: "Treating spiritual issues as part of a checklist in the same way as physical symptoms does not allow one to adequately tackle them, as they are more encompassing. Spirituality can contribute in it's own right to healthcare".
Abp. Paglia closing remarks: "We are speaking about all believers on all religions, not just leaders. Otherwise we would take away from the people most in need in love and place everything in the hand of experts". Make palliative care a required part of all medical training, and 4. prioritize the development of pediatric palliative care. We have a long way to go and we are just at the beginning. "We are speaking about all believers on all religions, not just leaders. Otherwise we would take away from the people most in need in love and place everything in the hand of experts".
“Suicide is a request for love that hasn’t been answered”. What a powerful closing statement
 "Faith needs to be integral to holistic care" - Final remarks from Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia and Sultana Afdhal at the conclusion of the meeting. 

BREAKING 11 Christians Killed on Bus in Kenya by Islamist Extremist Al-Shabaab group

WWM Release: Al-Shabaab singles out 11 to kill in bus attack in northern Kenya; raises fear for Christians
 December 12, 2019 By Fredrick Nzwili Kenya
Al-Shabaab, Garissa, Islamic extremism, Kenya, Somalia, Wajir

Teachers working in north-eastern Kenya demonstrated in February 2015, asking to be reassigned following the killing of 20 of their colleagues in an attack by Islamist militants.

Eleven people, almost all known to be Christians, were killed during an attack by the Islamist Al-Shabaab group on a bus in Kenya’s border region with Somalia on 6 December.

The militants forced the bus, owned by Medina Bus Company (which transports people and goods between Kenya’s capital Nairobi and north-east Kenya), to stop on a road between Katulo and Wagardud area in Wajir County. The gunmen ordered all passengers out of the bus and after checking what regions they were originally from, divided them in two groups, ‘locals’ and ‘non-locals’.

“The majority of the population in this region is Muslim. The non-locals had come from other parts of the country and they would definitely have been Christians,” Rev. Nicholas Mutua, a Roman Catholic priest in Garissa, told World Watch Monitor in a phone interview.

Of the 56 passengers, 11 turned out to be ‘non-locals’. They were told to lie on the ground face down and were shot at close range. The militants then ordered the bus to leave with the rest of the passengers.

Although earlier reports differed in the number of people allegedly killed in the attack, World Watch Monitor has since learned the number stands at 11.

Among them were eight security officers from Kenya’s Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU):  Athanas Kiti, Enos Odhiambo, Kevin Mandela, Wisely Meli, Tikane Kasale and Francis Mbuvi. Emmanuel Barasa and Nathan Bett were reportedly missing, presumed dead. Also killed were Rodger Machuka, a medical practitioner, teacher Leonard Mukanda and another unnamed teacher.

The two teachers were evangelical Christians while the doctor belonged to an Africa Inland Church congregation, Morning Star News reported.

Al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based al-Qaeda affiliate in East Africa, took responsibility for the attack, saying it had killed Kenyan “security agents and government employees”.

‘Devilish and sad’
After the attack, the driver of the bus took it to Katulo police station but he was later arrested, with a passenger – on suspicion of involvement in the attack. Before the attack, the unnamed passenger allegedly moved around the bus throughout the journey while speaking on his phone, a local source told World Watch Monitor.

According to police, the security officers were unarmed and were returning from leave, travelling back to their station in Elram in Mandera County. They had boarded the bus in Nairobi, reaching Wajir on Friday afternoon (6th December).

“Security forces are pursuing the killers and assure that the government will not relent in its ruthless crackdown on criminal elements- including suspected terrorists – in its solemn duty to safeguard lives,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta in a statement.

“We have lost …innocent lives of Kenyans. It is unfortunate that Al-Shabaab has perfected the art of killing innocent souls. It’s devilish and sad that their thirst for blood of innocent Kenyans still persists,” Mohammed Birik, north-eastern regional commissioner told The Star.

North-eastern Kenya’s population is largely ethnic Somali and Muslim; most are pastoralists, (or nomadic herders). For decades the region has remained underdeveloped with many of the vacancies in education, health and other government services filled by people from outside the region.

In October last year two Christian teachers were killed in a suspected Al-Shabaab attack on the house where they were staying in Mandera county, about one kilometre from the border with Somalia. Two other non-local teachers survived.

‘Militants are criminals’
Since 2011, when Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) rolled into Somalia to help in the fight against the militant group there, Al-Shabaab has stepped up attacks in Kenya – on government installations, public transport and churches across the region and in towns, including Garissa, Mombasa and Nairobi.

Al-Shabaab has been fighting since 2006 when it launched to overthrow the government in Somalia and replace it with one governed through Sharia (Islamic Law).

Its members have separated Christians from Muslims in the past before killing them.

In the Garissa University College attack in April 2015, the militants divided the students into two groups before killing 143 people, mainly Christians. Survivor Reachel Ginkonyo told World Watch Monitor this year about how she was “the last one out alive”.

In November 2014, they killed 28 people in the same manner, mainly non-local teachers, travelling home for Christmas from the border town of Mandera. The attack saw non-local teachers flee the region. In December 2014, the group massacred 36 quarry workers near the town of Mandera. It referred to them as ‘Kenyan crusaders’.

However, at Christmas 2015, in a bus attack in which two non-locals died, Muslims on the bus spoke up to save others, saying “Kill us all together or leave them alone”. A film based on this incident titled “Watu Wote” (All of Us) was Oscar-nominated in 2018.

“I don’t consider their actions religious. The militants are criminals who are pretending to be Muslims. They want to ignite tensions between Christians and Muslims,” said Mutua, the Catholic priest in Garissa. “They are unlikely to succeed since we are in good interfaith relations with the Muslims,” he added.

The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) condemned the attack and urged Kenyan Muslims to shun the group and watch out for its divisive tactics.

Although the government says it has stepped up security in the north-east, some Christians working in the region are reluctant to travel home for Christmas over fears that they could be killed in an attack, some media reports say.
Full Text Source: World Watch Monitor - Image Source: Inter News Network - Google Images

Wow over 2,000 People at March for Life in New Zealand as Pro-Lifers calls for Protection of Life from Conception - Video

Right to Life New Zealand release: 
Right to Life commends the 2,400 men, women and children who peacefully and joyfully marched to Parliament in Wellington yesterday, Saturday 7th December, to express their support for a culture of life with love for mothers and their precious unborn.
The march began at Civic Square and the marchers walked in blustery conditions through the streets of central Wellington to Parliament grounds where they were addressed by Pro-Life and Pro- family advocates and National Party MPs, including Simon O’Connor and Alfred Ngaro and Paulo Garcia. These MP’s spoke passionately about the need to continue to speak out against the government’s intentions to remove existing protections for our unborn children.

May our Parliament be attentive to the message we respectfully present, that we are absolutely opposed to the culture of death that our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern seeks to force on our country by completely removing abortion from our crime statutes.
Those who marched, want New Zealand to be a nation where the beauty and dignity of every human life is valued and protected from conception.
The aims of the March for Life were to:
  • Celebrate life.
  • Remember the more than 500,000 pre-born babies who have lost their lives to abortion.
  • Increase public awareness of abortion, and its impact on women, families and society.
  • Bring all New Zealanders of good will together, united in the one common vision of making abortion unthinkable. The March was organised by, Family Life
Those organisations represented included:
It is disappointing that apart from a very short snip on the One news the media ignored this important demonstration of public support for protecting mothers and the lives of their unborn. In contrast to today’s march, 300 persons marched on Parliament in support of decriminalising abortion on Thursday 5th December, eight times less than the number that marched on Saturday. Terry Bellamak, the President of the Abortion Law Reform Association, which has a very small membership, disclosed in her address to the 5th December march, that she had previously terminated the life of her child. She claimed that she “had felt empowered, nurtured and greatly relieved.”
Ken Orr

Full Text Release from Right to Life New Zealand