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.


22nd Sunday of the Year, C

yoke of JesusAll kinds of books, documents, archives and, of course, nowadays, articles on the web, tell us much about the religions of the world. We can gather detailed information from the earliest stages when human beings started to turn to Someone they believed to be great and powerful and whom they called God.

From all that I researched, read, studied, I never came across a text similar to the one we find in today’s Alleluia verse (22nd Sunday, year C – Mt.11:29): “Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.”

The words are amazing, the thought staggering, as for the reality, it is so astonishing… it is difficult to believe!
Were it not for the fact that it is Jesus himself who speaks these words, it could qualify as unreal! The Son of God, God himself, says he is humble!

And, he asks us to learn from him and become as he is. This is, in fact, the message of this Sunday. The example used by Jesus in the gospel (Lk.14:1,7-14) gives us a vivid picture of what this can mean in practice. And there are many other examples, plenty of situations where his teaching can be put in practice.

But… it goes against our natural inclination – that of looking for praise, prestige, power, personal recognition. Who wants to be humble? Who really strives to become so?… The true disciples of the Lord. And I know well I should be among them…

Source: Image: www.slideshare.net

World day in memory of abolition of the slave trade – 23 August

220px-Marcus_Garvey_1924-08-05The Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) is a black nationalist fraternal organization founded by Marcus Mosiah Garvey. The organization enjoyed its greatest strength in the 1920s, prior to Garvey’s deportation from the United States of America, after which its prestige and influence declined.

According to the preamble of the 1929 constitution as amended, the UNIA is a « social, friendly, humanitarian, charitable, educational, institutional, constructive and expansive society, and is founded by persons desiring to do the utmost to work for the general uplift of the people of African ancestry of the world. And the members pledge themselves to do all in their power to conserve the rights of their noble race and to respect the rights of all mankind, believing always in the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God. The motto of the organization is ‘One God! One Aim! One Destiny!’ Therefore, let justice be done to all mankind, realizing that if the strong oppresses the weak, confusion and discontent will ever mark the path of man but with love, faith and charity towards all the reign of peace and plenty will be heralded into the world and the generations of men shall be called Blessed. »

The broad mission of the UNIA-ACL led to the establishment of numerous auxiliary components, among them the Universal African Legion, a paramilitary group; the African Black Cross Nurses; African Black Cross Society; the Universal African Motor Corps; the Black Eagle Flying Corps; the Black Star Steamship Line; the Black Cross Trading and Navigation Corporation; as well as the Negro Factories Corporation. By 1920 the association had over 1,900 divisions in more than 40 countries.

Source: Text & image: Wikipedia

World Humanitarian Day – 19 August

« World Humanitarian Day is an annual reminder of the need to act to alleviate the suffering. It is also an occasion to honour the humanitarian workers and volunteers toiling on the frontlines of crises. I pay tribute to these dedicated women and men who brave danger to help others at far greater risk. » — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

2016 Theme: One Humanity
Every day, humanitarian aid workers stand on the front lines of war and disaster, braving tremendous dangers and difficulties to deliver assistance to those who need it most. World Humanitarian Day (WHD), which takes place every year on 19 August, recognizes the aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and mobilizes people to advocate for humanitarian action. The day was designated by the General Assembly seven years ago to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq.

This World Humanitarian Day, the UN and its partners are calling for global solidarity with the more than 130 million people around the world who need humanitarian assistance to survive. Under the theme of ‘One Humanity’, World Humanitarian Day will highlight how the world came together in Istanbul for the World Humanitarian Summit earlier this year, and made commitments to support people affected by crisis and ensure that aid workers can safely and more effectively deliver to those in need.

Events will be held around the world on 19 August to honor the work of humanitarian workers and to celebrate the theme of ‘One Humanity’. In New York, a wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the United Nations headquarters, and a high-level event will be held in the General Assembly Hall. In addition a digital campaign will be launched on the day to raise awareness of the impossible choices that people caught in crisis face. World Humanitarian Day will also feature photo exhibitions and film screenings documenting the lives of those affected by conflict and disaster.

For more information, please visit: www.unocha.org/whd2016.  Source: Texte: UN; Ohoto: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (shown on screens at left and right) addresses the closing ceremony of the World Humanitarian Summit, which took place in Istanbul, Turkey, on 23-24 May 2016. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

World Photography Day – 19 August

The soft click of the camera, a flash of light and a moment in time captured forever. Maybe digitally, maybe on film, the medium is never as important as the memory or moment caught. A group of people, a sunset, or even a fish jumping out of the water, a photograph is a way to feel the emotion and context of that exact moment. Celebrate that, on this picturesque Photography Day!

History of Photography Day
The photograph originally was made by Nicéphore Niépce, using silver chloride coating a piece of paper. However, the photo would  eventually turn fully dark as he knew no way to remove the silver chloride from the paper to preserve the photo. Photographs got better and better over the years, first with the ‘still camera’, and the ability to take a picture that way. Think the old west in America, and that camera’s differences to the ones of World War 2, then compare them to modern cameras. The major jumps in technology affected photography as much as any other facet of life around the world. With Kodak, Canon and so many other brands out there, it was of no surprise when the market of photography got such a jump, even more so with the military and surveillance capabilities offered as cameras got better, lighter and more easily used. Yet for all the innovation and creativity, science and even the large amount of art that occurs in the photography realm, not much can beat the simple pleasure of snapping photos and developing your frames to enjoy the integrity of the photos.

How to celebrate Photography Day
Why not go out and snap a few pictures yourself? Find an older camera, and enjoy the feel, and look, of 35mm film. Walk around and snap some pictures to preserve the time in photographic form. Make a collage, which is a mixture of pictures, sometimes cut into different shapes than the usual rectangles of photos. Go snap some wildlife, either in the wild or at a zoo. Maybe some family photos wouldn’t be out of the question; and you could even use them in the yearly holiday cards in place of the stock sitting stills. Or go see a museum about photography, if you have one nearby to visit. Many museums have cameras in them, and some even explain the use of photography in major events worldwide. How do you think they get the pictures of these events anyways? With a camera of course! So go out there, snap some photos and maybe record a piece of history on this year’s Photography Day!

Source: Text: Days of the Year     Image: pexels.com (FOX)

21st Sunday of the Year, C

luke-13-blessed-is-he-baruch-haba-bshem-adonai-until-does-god-still-punish-sin-few-saved-narrow-gate-narrow-gate-way-door-21-638I heard someone say : ‘God does not know how to count’. In any case, his way of counting is not ours. The Psalmist had understood this when he wrote: “A thousand years in your sight are like a day” (Ps.90:4) . And through the prophet Isaiah, God had told us already: “My thoughts are not your thought, my ways not your ways” (Is.55:8).

So, today’s gospel text (21st Sunday of the Year, C – Lk.13:22-30) should not surprise us when we read: “There are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last”. What does it mean? Different interpretations are offered. Personally, I like to see there an invitation to take on… God’s way of… accounting! He does not keep tabs as we do, he does not appraise situations and judge people according to our criteria.

In today’s text, we see someone coming to ask Jesus: “Will there be only a few saved?” And, typically, Jesus does not answer that question. It seems that God is not interested in… statistics: the number of those saved? The number of those ‘lost’? The number of those… mid-way???

We live in an age where statistics are very important: we gauge performance in nano- seconds! We count and we compare, we judge and we adjudge! We scrutinise and we assess! For his part, Jesus has one guideline, not to call it an… injunction! He tells us: “Try your best…”

In other words: try to take on God’s ways – God’s ways of looking at life and people, God’s ways of ‘discriminating’ – the right kind of discrimination between what is good and… what is best! And then, for us there will be no ‘weeping and grinding of teeth’ in disappointment at being left out of the on-going feast of God’s COUNTLESS blessings!

Source: Image: www.slideshare.net

International Youth Day – 12 August

Group of youth who are against weapons. Visit to United Nations Project Site Ð Conseil de dŽveloppement dÕAndohatapenaka, Conseil de DŽveloppement dÕAndohatapenaka

2016 Theme: The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production2016
On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.

The theme of the 2016 International Youth Day is “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production”. This year’s Day is about achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It focuses on the leading role of young people in ensuring poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development through sustainable consumption and production.

Sustainable consumption entails the use of products and services that meet the basic needs of communities while safeguarding the needs of future generations. The development and promotion of individual choices and actions that increase the eco-efficiency of consumption of all and minimize waste and pollution is critical to achieving equitable socioeconomic development. See more on this year’s International Youth Day.

Source: Text & Image: UN Students at an UN-backed development project site that supports vulnerable populations in Antananarivo, Madagascar Students at an UN-backed development project site that supports vulnerable populations in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten


20th Sunday of the Year, C

Some are prone to divide people into two categories: the good and the evil ones, the kind and the unkind, the just and the unjust and, yes, those who are our friends and those we label as ‘enemies’.
People who give in to such labelling can think it is wise to protect oneself from the hurt that those who are unfriendly could cause them…

Amazingly, they often forget one type of enemies… the inner ones! Yes, those we give a residence to within ourselves! Often, they lie there, well hidden from our consciousness, unrecognised. Their presence is not acknowledged and can be all the more negative.

Today, I am thinking of one such enemy which is referred to in the letter to the Hebrews (12:1-4), this Sunday’s second reading (20th Sunday of the Year, C). Courage-doesnt-mean-you-dont-get-afraid_-Courage-means-you-dont-let-fear-stop-you-Bethany-Hamilton
It is called: discouragement, or a lack of courage.
The author of this epistle warns us precisely against this.
It tells us “not (to) give up for want of courage.”

Discouragement deprives us of our inner resources.
We see situations and events in a defeatist way.
Our attitude to life and people is negative.
We give up the struggle to overcome the obstacles on our way.
We recall the failures of the past pretending they justify our refusal to make new efforts.
Nothing seems to have meaning any more.
We do not dare to move into unchartered territory in life.
We do not attempt to explore new possibilities.
Pushed to the extreme, this can lead to deep depression…

The Scripture text tells us: “We should throw off everything that hinders us…” Discouragement is definitely such a hindrance! The unrecognised specialist of… sabotage – obvious work of an ‘enemy’.

Source: Images: www.askideas.com

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples – 9 August

featured-image-index-32016 Theme: Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Education
This year’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is devoted to the right to education. The right of indigenous peoples to education is protected by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which in Article 14 states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.”

The right of indigenous peoples to education is also protected by a number of other international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for ensuring equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations. In spite of these instruments, the right to education has not been fully realized for most indigenous peoples, and a critical education gap exists between indigenous peoples and the general population.

Where data exist, they show consistent and persistent disparities between the indigenous and the non-indigenous population in terms of educational access, retention and achievement, in all regions of the world. The education sector not only mirrors the historical abuses, discrimination and marginalization suffered by indigenous peoples, but also reflects their continued struggle for equality and respect for their rights as peoples and as individuals.

Source: Texte & Image: UN  Indigenous Wayuu children in the village of Pessuapa, Colombia. UN Photo/Gill Fickling

19th Sunday of the Year, C

be ready« Are you ready? » A question that is familiar indeed.
The husband will ask his wife, or the wife her husband, as they wait for the partner to go somewhere.
A group of friends will call out the same words to one who has still to join the group leaving for an outing.
And the words will be heard by students asked by the teacher the same question about the coming exams.

Ready for a journey, an excursion, a meeting, a gathering, a feast, an adventure – so many occasions awaiting our presence, our readiness.
But this Sunday’s gospel message (19th, Year C – Lk.12:35-40) is about more that readiness for something.
Jesus speaks of being ready… for someone – someone’s coming, someone’s sudden arrival.
The unexpected return of the one who should find us waiting, expecting, attending to the tasks confided to us.

The long text of Luke can be summarised in the key sentence in the middle of those 14 verses: “You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

This theme of ‘expectation’ comes back three times and is expressed in a contrast: the attitude of the servant who does not expect his master’s return and what is expected from the person who “has been given a great deal on trust.”
So, perhaps our life is meant to be a coming together of two sets of expections… ours and … that of God!

Source: Image: www.pinterest.com

World Day against Trafficking in Persons – 30 July

trafficking-protest« Human traffickers prey on the most desperate and vulnerable. To end this inhumane practice, we must do more to shield migrants and refugees — and particularly young people, women and children – from those who would exploit their yearnings for a better, safer and more dignified future. » Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex. The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. While it is not known how many of these victims were trafficked, the estimate implies that currently, there are millions of trafficking in persons victims in the world.

Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. The link between the refugee and migration crisis and trafficking in persons was highlighted at this year’s observance of the day by the UN Office for Drugs and Crime.

Source: Text: UN  Photo: OHCHR A demonstration against human trafficking