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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.

 

Peter, the apostle

This Sunday (5th of Year C), the gospel (Luke 5:1-11) presents us with Peter, the apostle, in a prominent position… in spite of himself, perhaps!

In the following video here, he tells us more about himself and what followed this scene of the gospel.

 

 

5th Sunday of the Year, C

healthy_eating_s3_daughter_helps_mom_cook, www.medicinenet.comfather-and-son-fishing-guideYou would smile hearing a father tell his young son: “Danny, I want to catch a big fish; will you help me?” Smile, you would also seeing a young girl with a grin as her mother said: “Today I need your help to cook lunch!” We all know that neither the father nor the mother really need the help of the children and yet they are happy to involve them in the activity they have planned.

These examples came to my mind as I read the 1st reading of this 5th Sunday (Year C). It is the scene of Isaiah, the prophet (Is.6:1-8) who is called to be God’s messenger. Well, at first he is not called but… he offers his services to God who is searching for a messenger. This is quite surprising and not in line with our idea of a god. We picture God as being Almighty, all powerful, and surely not in need of anyone. Moreover, in the vision that Isaiah is given to witness there are many angels who, by definition, are precisely God’s messengers. And yet, God is looking for someone to send with his message.

This is the true image of OUR God: a God who wants to be in need… of us, human beings – and this, from the very beginning when he asked the newly-created Adam to name the animals that he, God, has brought into being. Much later, the apostle Paul will say boldly: “We are fellow workers with God” (1 Cor.3:9).Isaiah vision

A theologian and spiritual writer (Gerard W. Hughes) has written a book entitled: The God of Surprises. Indeed, God is constantly surprising us. And the amazing thing is that God does not ask us to be without defect, or weakness, or sin, to associate us with his work. When we speak the words: “Lord, I am not worthy…” as Peter spoke in today’s gospel (Luke 5:1-11), we mean well as he did! But the truth is that God does NOT ask us to be worthy.

What God wants is our eagerness to work with him. Work with him at making the world a better place for all. Work with him at creating more happiness for people around us. Work with him in spreading the message of his close presence with us. This is the partnership he offers us – and what a partnership it is!

Source: Images: Boy: footage.framepool.com    Girl: www.shutterstock.com
Isaiah: amaickinghezekiah,blogspot.com

 

World Cancer Day and PI – 4 February

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On February 4th, World Day focuses on two health problems: Cancer and PI

World Cancer Day is the one singular initiative under which the entire world can unite together in the fight against the global cancer epidemic. It takes place every year on 4 February. World Cancer Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.

UICC (Union for International Cancer Control) continues to expand on the success and impact of the day and is committed to ensuring that year-on-year the event is seen and heard by more people around the world. We do this through working directly with our members to develop a campaign that serves their differing organisational priorities; this is achieved through a two-pronged strategic approach:

UICC provides support through the development of tools and guidance to encourage its member organisations to run local cancer awareness campaigns that are aligned and adapted to the global World Cancer Day message. On an above-country level, we work to secure and support digital, traditional and social media opportunities to raise public awareness of the day. Through the continued support of our membership and key partners, World Cancer Day is beginning to firmly cement itself in calendars across the world.
To learn more about World Cancer Day, please visit the World Cancer Day website.

Source: Text & Image: UICC

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Primary immunodeficiency diseases (PI) are a group of more than 250 rare, chronic disorders in which part of the body’s immune system is missing or functions improperly. While not contagious, these diseases are caused by hereditary or genetic defects, and, although some disorders present at birth or in early childhood, the disorders can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender. Some affect a single part of the immune system; others may affect one or more components of the system.

And while the diseases may differ, they all share one common feature: each results from a defect in one of the functions of the body’s normal immune system. Because one of the most important functions of the normal immune system is to protect us against infection, patients with PI commonly have an increased susceptibility to infection.

The infections may be in the skin, the sinuses, the throat, the ears, the lungs, the brain or spinal cord, or in the urinary or intestinal tracts, and the increased vulnerability to infection may include repeated infections, infections that won’t clear up or unusually severe infections. People with PI live their entire lives more susceptible to infections–enduring recurrent health problems and often developing serious and debilitating illnesses. Fortunately, with proper medical care, many patients live full and independent lives.

Many physicians are taught, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras, and focus on the likeliest possibilities to make a diagnosis. However, physicians need to look for the unusual to detect patients with PI.

Source: Text & Image: IDF website

Today, we think of all those who are struggling with cancer, their loved ones, and the medical personnel for whom this multi-faceted disease is a constant challenge.

We remember as well those for whom PI is a very personal condition.

 

 

World Leprosy Day – 31 January

St_Damien_leper_girls_500pxOn a picturesque peninsula of one of Hawaii’s smallest islands are the remnants of one of history’s most horrific medical sequesters. Kalaupapa, on the island of Molokai, is Hawaii’s leprosy colony, where 8,000 people were sent into exile over the course of a century. Six of these patients still live sequestered, out of the 16 total patients who are still alive. They range in age from 73 to 92.
Source: Text & image: www.thedailybeast.com

World Leprosy Day is the day for international leprosy awareness. For over 60 years, on the last Sunday of January, people around the world have observed World Leprosy Day by remembering and praying for those living with the terrible effects of leprosy.lerposy, asaal,fr

World Leprosy Day was the idea of the great French humanitarian, Raoul Follereau, who dedicated many years to fundraising and helping those affected by leprosy. Initially, this day of prayer was to achieve two things. First, Follereau believed that those affected by leprosy should receive the same respect, dignity and quality of care as any other patient. Second, he wanted greater awareness of the disease in order to change attitudes and to reduce stigma.

The particular day, the final Sunday in January, was chosen to commemorate the death of famous Indian nationalist leader, peace activist and celebrated global icon, Mahatma Gandhi, who once said, “Eliminating leprosy is the only work I have not been able to complete in my lifetime.” Through World Leprosy Day, we hope that we can move closer to finish the work that Gandhi could not.

Source: Text: effect:world leprosy day   Image: asaal,fr

4th Sunday of the Year, C

Waiting at the bus station the other day, I overheard a woman telling another: « Oh, my son Simon is really ambitious! » To which the second woman replied: ‘Well, this can be good sometimes, but at other times… not so good… » The bus arrived as the proud mother of Simon kept mentioning all the good qualities of her son.

ambition, linkedin.comSitting in the bus, I kept thinking about… ambitions. Good? Not so good?

Amazingly, in the first words of today’s 2nd reading, Paul tells the Corinthians to be… ambitious!

« Be ambitious for the higher gifts. » (1 Cor.12:31)

So, this is what makes ambitions good or not so good: what we aim at, what we strive for. When people speak of ambitions, they often think in terms of wealth, reputation, influence, success in different areas of their personal and social life. Yet, often when they reach the goal they had set for themselves in any of those areas, they do not feel satisfied. Something is still missing. Perhaps it is because they have not attain what Paul calls « the higher gifts. » And Paul adds: « I am going to show you a way that is better. »

Did you notice that, in the illustration here, the word ambition is used in the singular – one can think of ONE over-riding ambition, a goal of a special kind which is worth leaving all the rest – like all the unused letters around the word ‘ambition’. Paul tells us very clearly what is the one thing we should try to achieve – we are to LOVE.

 If there is one word which is used and over-used it is this small word ‘love’! You will hear people say: « I love this film. » « I love ice cream. » « I love walking in the woods. » « I love it when you say: ‘I love you’! » But to make sure we are not mistaking the kind of love expected from us, we are given a description of it: it « is always patient and kind, never jealous, never boastful or conceited, never rude or selfish; it does not take offence and it is not resentful. It delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. » So this is the way we are to be ambitious.

But I must admit that, every time I come across this text, I feel like saying: ‘Lord, I’ll never manage that!’ And every time too, I am gently reminded that I am not expected to manage this on my own. The One asking us to live in this way is ready to enable us to do so…

Source: Image: linkedin.com

The Samaritan Woman

For this jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has written a special prayer in which it is said: « Lord, let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:If you knew the gift of God’ !”

In the following video, the Samaritan speaks of herself, and of the Man of Nazareth who spoke to her of another kind of water, another kind of life…

 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day – 27 January

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Holocaust is the genocide that resulted in the annihilation of six million European Jews as well as millions of others by the Nazi regime. The day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on November 1, 2005. The Resolution establishing January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day urges every member nation of the U.N. to honor the memory of Holocaust victims, and encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history to help prevent future acts of genocide. It rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an event and condemns all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief.

January 27 is the date, in 1945, when the largest Nazi death camp (Auschwitz-Birkenau), was liberated by Soviet troops. This camp was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II. It was the largest of the German concentration camps. The gas chambers of Birkenau were blown up by the SS in an attempt to hide the German crimes from the advancing Soviet troops. The SS command sent orders on January 17, 1945 calling for the execution of all prisoners remaining in the camp, but in the chaos of the Nazi retreat the order was never carried out. On January 17, 1945, Nazi personnel started to evacuate the facility.

Source: Text: « International Holocaust Remembrance Day » has been taken from www.cute-calendar.com (With material from: Wikipedia.)
Source: Image: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

3rd Sunday of the Year, C

J.Naz synagogue womeninthebible.netThe scene takes place in the synagogue of Nazareth on a Sabbath day. It is the time to read a passage of the sacred text. As any adult man can do, Jesus takes the scroll and starts reading a text from the prophet Isaiah (Is.61:1-2). Today’s gospel (Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21) tells us that “All eyes were fixed on him”. Jesus read the first verse, and the second… What followed was … unexpected, unforeseen, in fact, quite shocking!Isaiah b. sergioarevalo.net

This young teacher – was he really a credible teacher? – from their town, there he was, claiming, proclaiming, that what Isaiah had said was happening there and then. The people knew the text, they knew the prophet, they thought they knew this young man – but they did not! They could not, they would not believe such a message: it was too much for them to accept, it was plainly and simply unbelievable!

Yes, God’s message to us can be precisely that: unbelievable! “Good news to the poor, comfort to the broken-hearted, freedom to prisoners, sight to the blind, liberation to the oppressed, a year of favour from the Lord…” nothing less! Happening today? Really? Would we believe it, could we believe it, were we in Nazareth today? And what about here and now?…When God comes to me with the unforeseen, the unexpected, the unbelievable, am I so shocked that I fail to recognise him?

Source: Images: Jesus – womeninthebible.net      Isaiah – sergioarevalo.net

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – 18-25 January 2016

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The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was first proposed in 1908 as an observance within the Roman Catholic Church by Fr Paul Wattson, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in Graymoor, New York. In November of 2014, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops endorsed the cause for Fr Wattson’s canonization.

Since the founding of the World Council of Churches in 1948, many other Christian denominations around the world have come to celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and since 1968, the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity have collaborated to produce materials for use over this eight-day period. Every year, the Commission on Faith and Witness of the Canadian Council of Churches assembles an ecumenical writing team to adapt these materials for the Canadian context, and to create additional planning resources.

This year’s resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have been prepared by an ecumenical team in Latvia, representing various churches and religious organizations. They have chosen as their theme “Called to proclaim the mighty acts of God”, inspired by 1 Peter 2:9 “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” They invite Christians around the world to reflect on what it means to be the people of God, and how we are called both to proclaim and to respond to the acts of God in the world.

Source: Text: Conseil Canadien des Églises;  Image: GEII – Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute Image

 

World Day of Migrants and Refugees – 17 January

EPA1939668_ArticoloThe 102nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be celebrated January 17, 2016. The theme of Pope Francis’ Message is « Migrants and refugees challenge us: The response of the Gospel of mercy ». In his Message, the Holy Father says that « migrants are our brothers and sisters in search of a better life, far away from poverty, hunger, exploitation and the unjust distribution of the planet’s resources which are meant to be equitably shared by all. Don’t we all want a better, more decent and prosperous life to share with our loved ones? »

Source: Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Explaining the pope’s choice for the theme, the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers said the pope first wants to draw Catholics’ attention to « the dramatic situation of many men and women forced to abandon their homelands. »

In calling a Year of Mercy beginning Dec. 8, Pope Francis said it would be a time to overcome indifference to the needs of others, the council said. « Let us open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us recognize that we are compelled to heed their cry for help, » the pope wrote in the document proclaiming the year. The theme’s reference to « the Gospel of mercy, » aims « explicitly to tie the phenomenon of migration to the response of the world and, especially, of the church. In this context, the Holy Father invites the Christian people to reflect during the jubilee year on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which includes welcoming the stranger. »

Source: Catholic Diocese of Kumbo, Bamenda, Cameroon   Pic: EPA Vatican, In a camp, refugees are wading through water