hello

Greetings to each and everyone of you.


This section for English-speaking viewers –
and all those enjoying the culture –

has developed over the months and is now offering materials of all kinds:

texts, images, poems, videos, etc.

It will continue to provide you with rich contents week after week.

 

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought – 17 June 2024

The theme of the 2024 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, 17 June, is “United for Land. Our Legacy. Our Future”, highlighting the future role of land stewardship in ensuring the stability and prosperity of billions of people around the world.

Desertification, land degradation, and drought are among the most pressing environmental challenges of our time, with up to 40 per cent of all land area worldwide already considered degraded.

Desertification and drought are being made worse by increasingly erratic and extreme weather patterns due to climate change, which puts tens of millions of people each year at risk of displacement.

To cope with an uncertain future, decision makers will need to adopt resilient water management techniques and technologies as part of a more sustainable approach to land stewardship.

  • 72% of all freshwater withdrawals are used by agriculture, 16% by industries, and 12% by municipalities. (UN-Water, 2023
  • Rising water stress is affecting food security and biodiversity. There are rapid changes in surface water in one fifth of river basins. (UN-Water, 2021
  • Water-harvesting and water conservation techniques could boost rainfed kilocalorie production by up to 24% and, if combined with irrigation expansion, by more than 40%. (FAO, 2020)

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.unwater.org/news/world-day-combat-desertification-and-drought-17-june

World Day of the African Child – 16 June 2024

The Day of the African Child is commemorated every year on 16 June since 1991. On this day we remember black high school students who participated in the Soweto Uprising in South Africa in June 1976, when they began a series of demonstrations and protests against education injustice and inequality during the apartheid regime.  It is estimated that about 20,000 students took part in the protests. They were met with police brutality and many were shot and killed.  Thus 16 June every year is held in honour of the African child.

According to the African Union, the theme for the Day of the African Child in 2024 is Education for all Children in Africa: the Time is Now” aligning with the African Union’s Year of Education, which focuses on building resilient education systems to ensure increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality and relevant learning in Africa.

Many children in Africa have come a long way as some have gone through abuse and exploitation just because of the need to survive and because families were economically challenged.  Thus, many children did not attend school and had to work to help boost household incomes.  People took advantage of the families’ vulnerable situations and ended up employing both children and their parents.  Also, children were involved in the worst forms of child labour with meagre pay. They were also trafficked and sexually exploited.  Some years back ANPPCAN coined a slogan, “Adults to Work and Children to School.”  This was a campaign to withdraw children from child labour and enroll them back in schools. 

 

Source: Text:     Image: africanchildrenfund.org

11th Sunday of Year B – 2024

The readings of our celebrations are many and they are rich in what they offer us.
The third reading – the gospel – brings us to Jesus himself, what he said and what he did.
Today’s last verse of the gospel has a message for us.
It tells us that Jesus spoke to his listeners in parables meant to make his words understood by them (Mark 4:26-34).

But this verse adds:
“When he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything to them”.

We may be tempted to envy them!
They lived daily in the presence of the Master.
He was there, always ready to explain his message to them and answer their questions.
When they failed to understand something that he had taught, they could ask him to speak about this again.

Yet… he is also with us…
Oh, not visible, of course, and his voice cannot be heard as yours and mine can be.
But his presence is no less real.
And we also have been given his promise –
the promise that his Spirit will remind us of what he said and make us understand his message (John 14:26).

Perhaps, what is needed is for us to take the time –
the time to sit quietly and listen again…

Listen to his words in the Bible…
Go for a walk in nature and listen to what he will silently inspire us…
Sit in our favorite corner of the garden where we can be by ourselves and remember what he told us already…

The remark of a neighbor…
A conversation with a friend…
The text of a book…
A priest’s homily…

All of these can be the way the Spirit will reach us today, and tomorrow, and…
And, suddenly, Christ’s message will take on a new meaning… an inspiration… for now, and later!

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at: https://image-i-nations.com/11e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2024/https://image-i-nations.com/11e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2024/

 

Source: Images: Scripture Images One Walk / With Jesus

World Blood Donor Day – 14 June 2024

Every year countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD). The event serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.

A blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products in sufficient quantity is a key component of an effective health system. The global theme of World Blood Donor Day changes each year in recognition of the selfless individuals who donate their blood for people unknown to them.

On World Blood Donor Day, celebrated on 14 June 2024, WHO, its partners and communities across the world will unite behind the theme: 20 years of celebrating giving: thank you blood donors!

The 20th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day is an excellent and timely opportunity to thank blood donors across the world for their life-saving donations over the years and honour the profound impact on both patients and donors. It is also a timely moment to address continued challenges, and accelerate progress towards a future where safe blood transfusion is universally accessible.

The objectives of the campaign:

  • thank and recognize the millions of voluntary blood donors who have contributed to the health and well-being of millions of people around the world.
  • showcase the achievements and challenges of national blood programmes and share best practices and lessons learned.
  • highlight the continuous need for regular, unpaid blood donation to achieve universal access to safe blood transfusion.
  • promote a culture of regular blood donation among young people and the general public and increase the diversity and sustainability of the blood donor pool.
Source: Text & Image: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-blood-donor-day/2024

10th Sunday of Year B – 2024

Excusing oneself by accusing someone else – this is as old as the world, it seems!
Today’s Scripture texts are inviting us to reflect on this.

The 1st reading reminds us of the well-known story of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:9-15).
Questioned by God about their misdeed, the man accuses his wife while she, in turn, accuses the serpent.

And in today’s gospel, we meet the Scribes challenging Jesus (Mark 3:20-25).
Unable to accept Jesus as having the power of God, they accuse him of being possessed by Satan.
They claim that he is casting out devils by Beelzebul, the prince of devils.

The daily news broadcast is full of examples of such attitudes: blaming others and failing to accept one’s responsibility.
Or, refusing to accept the good accomplished by someone fearing that it overshadows one’s reputation.

We can lament such duplicity, dishonesty, lack of transparency.
It seems that there is plenty of deceitfulness and double-dealing in our world,

But… we should turn our look inwards and ask ourselves whether we are immune to such behavior.

In the text of the scene related in the 1st reading we see that:
“The man and his wife… hid from the Lord in the trees of the garden”.

“The Lord called to the man: ‘Where are you?’
‘I heard the sound of you in the garden’;
he replied “I was afraid’…”

Hiding out of fear may be a natural reaction for many of us…
We may still be on the way to a more mature acknowledgement of what we do…

Hiding, pretending, scapegoating – all too human, some may say…
Less than truly human – it should be said…

Less than authentically Christ-like…

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at: https://image-i-nations.com/10e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2024/

 

Source: Images: https://www.biblword.net/what-about-the-fall-of-man-in-the-garden-of-eden/ https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/image/jesus-authority-questioned-bab5358?lang=eng

World Food Safety Day – 7 June

Why improving food safety is important

Access to sufficient amounts of safe food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. Foodborne illnesses are usually infectious or toxic in nature and often invisible to the plain eye, caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances entering the body through contaminated food or water.

Food safety has a critical role in assuring that food stays safe at every stage of the food chain – from production to harvest, processing, storage, distribution, all the way to preparation and consumption.

With an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses annually, unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies, disproportionally affecting vulnerable and marginalized people, especially women and children, populations affected by conflict, and migrants. An estimated 420 000 people around the world die every year after eating contaminated food and children under 5 years of age carry 40% of the foodborne disease burden, with 125 000 deaths every year.

World Food Safety Day on 7 June aims to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly facilitate the observance of World Food Safety Day, in collaboration with Member States and other relevant organizations. This international day is an opportunity to strengthen efforts to ensure that the food we eat is safe, mainstream food safety in the public agenda and reduce the burden of foodborne diseases globally.

Did you know?

  • Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances causes more than 200 diseases.
  • Recent estimates indicate that the impact of unsafe food costs low- and middle-income economies around US$ 95 billion in lost productivity each year.
  • Good hygiene practices in the food and agricultural sectors help to reduce the emergence and spread of foodborne diseases.
Source: Text & Image: https://www.un.org/en/observances/food-safety-day (Photo: FAO/G.Agostinucciruit and vegetables farmers’ market in Budapest, Hungary)

World Environment Day – 5 juin 2024

World Environment Day is the biggest international day for the environment. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and held annually since 1973, it has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental outreach. It is celebrated by millions of people across the world.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will host World Environment Day 2024 with a focus on land restoration, desertification and drought resilience. Land restoration is a key pillar of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, which is critical to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

UNEP chief’s statement on World Environment Day 2024

Land restoration can reverse the creeping tide of land degradation, drought and desertification. Every dollar invested in restoration can bring up to US$30 in ecosystem services. Restoration boosts livelihoods, lowers poverty and builds resilience to extreme weather. Restoration increases carbon storage and slows climate change. Restoring just 15 per cent of land and halting further conversion could avoid up to 60 per cent of expected species extinctions.

But we must also end the drivers of land degradation, drought and desertification, such as climate change. Last year, temperatures records were shattered. Much of the world felt the impacts, not just in heat but in storms, floods and drought. Restoring land without tackling climate change would be like giving with one hand and taking away with the other, so G20 nations must show leadership across the whole climate agenda – as the Kingdom has done and continues to do on land restoration.

There is real hope. Countries have promised to restore one billion hectares, an area larger than China. If they deliver, this will be huge. Through World Environment Day and through hosting the UN Convention to Combat Desertification’s conference of the parties this December, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can build momentum and action towards these restoration goals, slow climate change, protect nature and boost the livelihoods and food security of billions of people around the world.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/statements/world-environment-day-2024-accelerating-land-restoration-drought

Feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord, Year B – 2024

When I notice the backpack of my guest hanging on the rail of the stairs, I know he is back from his travels.
As I perceive the familiar smell of freshly brewed coffee and toasted bread, I know that my sister is in the kitchen with breakfast ready for us.

The backpack and the odor of coffee are signs that speak – they reveal a hidden reality.
I have not seen either my guest or my sister, but I can conclude to their presence.

We could say that this is what today’s feast is about: the celebration of the signs of a presence.
The bread and wine are precisely this: the signs of Christ’s presence with us.

He has promised: “I am with you until the end of times” (Matthew 28:20).
He, himself, has chosen these signs of the bread and wine to assure us of the fulfilment of his promise.

In today’s gospel, we see him offering his apostles the bread and the wine while they can still see him (Mark 14:12-16,22-26).
But, even when he will no longer be visible to them, his presence will be no less real.

In another gospel text, handing the bread to them, we hear him say:
“This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).

As we repeat this gesture of eating the bread, drinking the wine, he is still, and ever, present with us.
He said he would be – he cannot fail to carry out what he promised.

Our eyes cannot vouch for his physical presence, but our faith can affirm his real presence.

This is worth a celebration, indeed!

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-du-corps-et-du-sang-du-christ-annee-b-2024/

 

Source: Images: pexels.com (Jimbear) (Sumeyye Ugurlu)        https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/

World Thyroid Day – 25 May

« Established in 2008, World Thyroid Day highlights five major goals to:
– Increase awareness of thyroid health,
– Promote understanding of advances made in treating thyroid diseases,
– Emphasize the prevalence of thyroid diseases,
– Focus on the urgent need for education and prevention programs, and
– Expand awareness of new treatment modalities.”

The Logo of the European Thyroid Day – 25th May 

« On the occasion of the European Thyroid Day, the Public Affairs Board of the ETA has produced in Athens a logo with the aim of increasing visibility and requesting the active participation of all who are involved in clinical and experimental thyroidology, sure of their continued commitment and dedication to all our thyroid patients. 

We sincerely hope that the logo is to your liking and trust that it will offer additional inspiration to us for the celebration of this special day, one that hopefully will further stimulate both political and public interest in thyroid disease, the most common endocrine disease worldwide, while simultaneously promoting the ETA ». 

Leonidas Duntas, on behalf of the Public Affairs Board

 

Source: Text & Image: https://thyroid-fed.org/history-wtd-itaw/

Holy Trinity Sunday, Year B – 2024

It is interesting to observe children doing different things on their own.
It is even more fascinating to see them interacting with one another.

Recently, I passed by a boy and a girl chatting with much excitement.
The boy said loudly: “My father is stronger than yours”!
But my father is more clever than yours!”, replied the girl.

I kept walking thinking of… the readings of the celebration of this Sunday: Trinity Sunday.
The thought suddenly came to me: Do I have the same enthusiasm at the fact that I the child of… God!
How many Christians experience joy, comfort, security, when they become aware that God is truly their Father?

The Apostle Paul knew he had to remind the Christians of Rome of this extraordinary reality (Romans 8:14-17):

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again;
rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.
And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

Is it that we do not realize that having been baptized we are indeed children of God?…
Could it be that we are so used to hearing sermons that speak about this that the words no longer touch us?…
Do we doubt that this is true, really true, for us personally – feeling unworthy, having been unfaithful to God, unaware of his presence and care?…

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can deprive us of our special condition of being God’s child.
Our dignity is not self-acquired, it is his gift to us – we are “adopted” by him and without condition!

God our Father showers over us his blessings of all kinds –
         – his tenderness shelters us,
         – his compassion comforts us,
         – his mercy forgives us,
         – his faithfulness accompanies us,
         – his unfailing presence gives us security.

The only thing we need to contribute is… our faith that it is so.
And… even that, he is ready to give us… if only we cry, “Abba, Father”.

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-la-sainte-trinite-annee-b-2024/

 

Source: Image: https://www.scripture-images.com/bible-verse/web/romans-8-16