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.

 

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation – 6 February

Ending Female Genital Mutilation by 2030

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights, the health and the integrity of girls and women.

Girls who undergo female genital mutilation face short-term complications such as severe pain, shock, excessive bleeding, infections, and difficulty in passing urine, as well as long-term consequences for their sexual and reproductive health and mental health.

Although primarily concentrated in 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East, female genital mutilation is a universal issue and is also practiced in some countries in Asia and Latin America. Female genital mutilation continues to persist amongst immigrant populations living in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Did You Know?

  • There are over 200 million girls and women alive today who are survivors of FGM.
  • Girls are today one third less likely to be subjected to FGM compared to 30 years ago; however, progress needs to be at least 10 times faster to meet the global target of FGM elimination by 2030.
  • In 2024, nearly 4.4 million girls – or more than 12,000 each day – are at risk of female genital mutilation around the world.
  • 1 in 4 survivors underwent female genital mutilation by a health worker.
  • Daughters of FGM survivors are at significant higher risk to undergo FGM compared to daughters of women who have not undergone FGM.
  • The financial cost of health care for FGM survivors is USD 1.4 billion every year.
Source: Text: https://www.un.org/en/observances/female-genital-mutilation-day    Image: UNFPA

International Day of Human Fraternity – 4 February

Human fraternity for peace and cooperation

We need — perhaps more than ever before — to recognize the valuable contribution of people of all religions, or beliefs, to humanity and the contribution that dialogue among all religious groups can make towards an improved awareness and understanding of the common values shared by all humankind.

We also need to underline the importance of raising awareness about different cultures and religions, or beliefs, and the promotion of tolerance, which involves societal acceptance and respect for religious and cultural diversity, including with regard to religious expression. Education, in particular at school, should contribute in a meaningful way to promoting tolerance and the elimination of discrimination based on religion or belief.

Furthermore, we must acknowledge that  tolerance,  pluralistic  tradition,  mutual  respect  and  the diversity of religions and beliefs promote human fraternity. Thus, it is imperative that we encourage activities  aimed  at  promoting  interreligious  and  intercultural dialogue in  order to  enhance peace  and social  stability,  respect for  diversity and mutual respect and to create, at the global level, and also at the regional, national and local levels, an environment conducive to peace and mutual understanding.

Within that frame, the General-Assembly took note of  all  international,  regional,  national  and  local  initiatives,  as appropriate,  as  well as  efforts  by religious leaders, to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue, and in this regard took note also of the meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib, on 4 February 2019 in Abu Dhabi, which resulted in the signing of the document entitled “Human fraternity for world peace and living together”.

 

Source: Text:  https://www.un.org/en/observances/human-fraternity    Image: vaticannews.va

5th Sunday of Year B – 2024

Looking at life unfolding from day to day, some people would say:
“Daily life is a ‘mixed bag’.”
They think of their experience day after day –
good things and bad things are part of what happens to them.

Joyful events and happy encounters are surely enjoyable.
But problems and difficulties are not.
Struggling with misfortune and coping with accidents, this is painful.
And sickness is part of what we see as painful situations in our lives.

When we are suffering physically or mentally, or both, we feel we are not ourselves.
We long to be healed from the pain and hurt.
We want to be freed from worry, anxiety, and all such negative feelings.

At such times, some of us may envy the people who lived in Jesus’ time.
The text of today’s gospel reading outlines clearly what we would hope for (Mark 1:29-39):

“That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus
all the sick and those possessed by demons. 
The whole town gathered at the door, 
and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. 
He also drove out many demons”

Sickness and possession suddenly taken away – was it not something wonderful?
People suffering and tormented are now free from their misery.
And we think: What about us?

We can no longer reach Jesus in a certain place and ask him to heal whatever affliction we suffer from.
Yet, healing is often provided through the medication available nowadays.
Medical science, the knowledge and expertise of specialists can often cure many diseases.
God can make use of these to heal us.

You say: “Often, yes, but not always”.
It is true.
On this earth, we cannot enjoy permanent health and… immortality.
Our human condition does not allow for everlasting enjoyment of a healthy life.
We must live… waiting for… the ‘other life’ – the eternal one…

One day I read a text from a spiritual writer asking this question:
“What kind of a God do we want to believe in –
a God who can cure our diseases once?
Or, a God who lives with us through all that we have to suffer from?”

I ask myself this question from time to time?…

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at: https://image-i-nations.com/5e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2024/

 

Source: Images: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

 

 

 

World Day for Consecrated Life – 2 February

Consecrated women and men — together with Catholics in general — are invited to celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life. Established by St. John Paul II, the day recognizes the beauty and impact of a life dedicated to poverty, chastity, and obedience.

When is it celebrated?

The Catholic Church celebrates the World Day for Consecrated Life Feb. 2, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas or the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Consecrated women and men — together with Catholics in general — are invited to celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life.

In his message for the first World Day of Consecrated Life, the late pontiff stressed the importance of the day.

“The mission of the consecrated life in the present and in the future of the Church,” he said, “concerns not merely those who have received this special charism, but the entire Christian community.

The consecrated life, he added, “is at the very heart of the Church as a decisive element for her mission, since it ‘manifests the inner nature of the Christian calling’ and the striving of the whole Church as Bride towards union with her one Spouse,” citing his apostolic exhortation Vita Consecrata.

In his 1997 address, Pope Saint John Paul II listed three reasons, beginning with thanking God for this “stupendous gift!”

The day “answers the intimate need to praise the Lord more solemnly and to thank him for the great gift of consecrated life,” he said. Next, “this day is intended to promote a knowledge of and esteem for the consecrated life by the entire People of God.”

The last reason, he said, concerned consecrated persons.

“They are invited to celebrate together solemnly the marvels which the Lord has accomplished in them,” he said, “to discover by a more illumined faith the rays of divine beauty spread by the Spirit in their way of life, and to acquire a more vivid consciousness of their irreplaceable mission in the Church and in the world.”

 

Source: Text: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/    Images: pexels.com (Mikhail Nilov, Mart Production)

When there is nothing left…

On this 5th Tuesday of Year B, the gospel reading offers us a long text.

We are presented with a scene that allows us to meet a man who is desperate, and with a woman who has also lost hope.

But for both of them, life recovers all its meaning!

It is about the leader of the synagogue, Jairus, and a woman whose name remains unknown but who has also had a very special experience.

Both tell us what happened when they met the Man of Nazareth…

 

 

 

World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day – 30 January

On 31 May 2021, the World Health Assembly (WHA) recognized 30 January as World Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Day through decision WHA74(18).

This decision formalized 30 January as a day to create better awareness on the devastating impact of NTDs on the poorest populations around the world. The day is also an opportunity to call on everyone to support the growing momentum for the control, elimination and eradication of these diseases.

Global NTD partners had marked the celebration in January 2021 by organizing various virtual events and also by lighting up landmark monuments and buildings.

Following the adoption of decision WHA74(18), WHO has joined the NTD community in adding its voice to the global call.

Source: Text & Image: WHO

4th Sunday of Year B – 2024

Usually, most people look for things that are genuine, ‘the real thing’, they say.
The also want to relate to people who are authentic, they despise any form of pretense.
And of course, they easily detect what is ‘fake news,’ or doubtful information.

It is real appreciation when it is said of someone: “He knows what he is talking about!”

This expression came to my mind as I read the gospel text of today’s celebration (Mark 1:21-28).
The reaction of the those listening to Jesus’ preaching is described in these terms:

“The people were amazed at his teaching,
because he taught them as one who had authority,
not as the teachers of the law”.

This appraisal is repeated after the demoniac present in the group is cured by Jesus:
“The people were all so amazed that they asked each other,
‘What is this? A new teaching – and with authority’!”

Jesus’ words have the ring of truth and authenticity.
His message reaches people’s minds and touches people’s hearts.

At times, reading the gospel texts, some people tend to say:
‘Well, this is good to see but… it happened so long ago.
Nowadays, things are not the same…’

Of course, we do not witness a scene such as the one described in today’s text.
But God’s presence with us through Christ is no less real.
Christ’s message – if we allow it to do so – can also reach our minds and touch our hearts.

When we have an important decision to make…
When we must make a choice heavy with consequences…
When we have to deal with a situation that can have momentous results…
When we must help a person and give some advice that requires more than human wisdom…

Christ’s words, Christ’s real presence will not fail us… if only we entrust ourselves to him.
Having become one of us, he knows what our lives are about…

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at: https://image-i-nations.com/4e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2024/

 

Source: Image: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

 

 

 

International Day of Clean Energy – 26 January

Clean energy: for all…

Energy lies at the core of a double challenge: leaving no one behind and protecting the Planet. And clean energy is crucial to its solution.

In a world grappling with climate change, clean energy plays a vital role in reducing emissions, and can also benefit communities lacking access to reliable power sources. Still today, 675 million people live in the dark – 4 in 5 are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The connection between clean energy, socio-economic development, and environmental sustainability is crucial in addressing issues faced by vulnerable communities worldwide.

For populations without clean energy access, the lack of reliable power hinders education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, and many of these developing regions still rely heavily on polluting fossil fuels for their daily life, perpetuating poverty. If current trends continue, by 2030 one in four people will still use unsafe, unhealthy and inefficient cooking systems, such as burning wood or dung.

Although this situation has been improving, the world is not on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), which aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030. The General Assembly will hold a Global Stocktaking on SDG7 in April 2024 to assess progress and recommend solutions.

… and for our planet

But adopting clean energy is integral to the fight against climate change, as well. 

A large chunk of the greenhouse gases that blanket the Earth and trap the Sun’s heat are generated through energy production, by burning fossil fuels (oil, coal, and gas) to generate electricity and heat.

The science is clear: to limit climate change, we need to end our reliance on fossil fuels and invest in alternative sources of energy that are clean, accessible, affordable, sustainable, and reliable. Renewable energy sources – which are available in abundance all around us, provided by the sun, wind, water, waste, and heat from the Earth – are replenished by nature and emit little to no greenhouse gases or pollutants into the air.

At the same time, improving energy efficiency is key. Using less energy for the same output – through more efficient technologies in the transport, building, lighting, and appliances sectors for instance: saves money, cuts down on carbon pollution, and helps ensure universal access to sustainable energy for all.

 

Source: Text: https://www.un.org/en/observances/clean-energy-day Image: Raphael Pouget/UNICEF (Woman cleaning solar panel)

 

International Day of Education – 24 January

The sixth International Day of Education will be celebrated on 24 January 2024 under the theme “learning for lasting peace”. 

UNESCO is dedicating the International Day of Education celebrated on 24 January 2024 to the crucial role education and teachers play in countering hate speech, a phenomenon which has snowballed in recent years with the use of social media, damaging the fabric of our societies.  

The world is seeing a surge of violent conflicts paralleled by an alarming rise of discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and hate speech. The impact of this violence transcends any boundary based on geography, gender, race, religion, politics, offline and online. An active commitment to peace is more urgent today than ever: Education is central to this endeavor, as underlined by the UNESCO Recommendation on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Sustainable Development. Learning for peace must be transformative, and help empower learners with the necessary knowledge, values, attitudes and skills and behaviours to become agents of peace in their communities.

Source: Text & Image: UNESCO

3rd Sunday of Year B – 2024

There are words that sound somehow like… an alarm bell.
There is an urgency in the expression, it calls for an immediate reaction.
The word ‘Come’ is one of them.

This is the word that Jesus used on that day on the seashore.
The gospel text of today’s celebration tells us (Mark 1:14-20):

“He was walking along the Sea of Galilee…”
Seeing two men casting a net in the lake he told them:

“Come, follow me”.
And he added: “I will make you into fishers of men”.

The amazing thing is that those two men did exactly that:
“At once, they left their nets”.

I picture the scene in my mind, and I try to imagine how these two fishermen felt.
A stranger comes and proposes a radical change of life, and at once the men accept.

Jesus repeats the same thing to two other fishermen, and they react in the very same way.
But this time, the words are said about Jesus:
“He called them at once…”

Lost in the English translation, but appearing in the French text of the first reading (Jonah 3:1-5.10), 
the same expression: ‘At once’ is said of the people of Nineveh who readily accepted to believe in God after hearing the prophet Jonah.

At once, immediately, without delay – whatever the translation, all these words express an urgency.
The situation they refer to demands action now.

What is asked of us is clearly outlined by Jesus telling us:
“Repent and believe the good news!”

Will the words “at once, immediately, without delay” describe our own response?…

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at: https://image-i-nations.com/3e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2024/

  

Source: Image: A Christian Pilgrimage