(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - The head of the Pastoral Missionary Department of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), bishop Yosyf Milian, emphasizes importance of providing due pastoral care to the faithful living abroad. He recently turned to the metropolitans, eparchs and exarchs of the Kyiv-Halych Supreme Archbishopric with a request to analyze the situation among priests, monks, seminary students and lay people in order to make a call for the missionary needs of the UGCC abroad, inviting anyone who would like to contribute to the development of the missionary ministry of the UGCC to inform the respective department. The bishop is convinced that the Church must support people who still live without holiday services and periodical Sunday services and pastoral care. Representatives of the Pastoral Missionary Department remind that Ukrainians now stay in 37 countries for various reasons, usually with no Church communities or organized structures. According to the prelate, the department often receives letters with requests to provide spiritual life for Ukrainian people in other countries. Priests are needed especially in Latvia, Estonia, Romania, Hungary, Russia, Kazakhstan, Israel, Portugal and Moldova.
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - Approval of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus as a private Christian association and establishment of the Commission for Caritas Czech Republic consisting of three bishops: these were among the topics discussed at the plenary session of the Czech Bishops Conference on 24-25 April. The prelates also discussed progress concerning preparation of the program of new religious education and formation of youth in parishes. Among the most significant events of the upcoming weeks will be the official opening of the Holy Year of St. Cyril and Methodius, due to take place on 25 May in Rome, with the Eucharistic celebration in the Basilica of St. Praxedes presided over by cardinal Péter Erdö, president of the Council of European Bishops Conferences (CCEE), in the presence of bishops and representatives from various countries. Afterwards, the bishops focused on the 100th anniversary of the Pontifical Mission Societies, stressing that last years collections aimed at helping children from poor countries amounted to 8 million CZK (320,000 EUR). Finally, participants in the plenary session agreed to publish the Word of bishops regarding the situation in Czech society in the near future.
The Non-Sighted Person: ‘Master, I Want to See (Mk 10:51) is the theme of the International Study Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (PCOS) and the Good Samaritan Foundation. The Meeting is to be held on 4 and 5 May in the St. Pius X Hall in Via della Conciliazione, Rome. The meeting will offer an in-depth analysis of the theological-pastoral and medical-scientific aspects of the treatment of non-sighted and partially-sighted persons, taking into account that, according to the World Health Organisation, 314 million people worldwide are severely visually impaired (of these, 45 million are blind and 269 million have low vision). For more information, please visit www.holyseeforhealth.org.
The homogenisation imposed by the ‘politically correct does not help the development of society, while the confrontation of diversities and an open and sincere dialogue are a growth factor for justice and peace. This is why differences should not be eliminated, on the contrary, dialogue should be intensified. Card. Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, wrote this in a message read out by Mgr. Peter Wells, assessor for General Affairs, at the opening of the Seminar organised by FIAC (International Forum of Catholic Action), the Toniolo Institute, and the Committee for the Italian Catholic Social Weeks. The Seminar was organised in collaboration with the Pontifical Council Iustitia et Pax and the Pontifical Council for the Laity, ahead of Giuseppe Toniolos beatification (29 April). The theme of the Seminar is at the school of Giuseppe Toniolo. The commitment and contribution of the laity within the international community, for a more just, more peaceful and more humane world. The path undertaken by Toniolo differs from the one of contemporary world, said the cardinal, opposing the idea that peace is built by eliminating differences. In every historical period - he added - there have been pioneers who have given a fresh impetus to the Gospel: it was the monks in the first millennium, mendicant orders in the second, and now, in the third, it will be the laity.
Participants of the meeting decided to set up four commissions in relation to medical and social care, education, economical juridical matters and religious cults and national patrimony, with aim to formulate common points of view to topical problems and to propose amendments to the projects of normative interest for the religious cults.
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - The annual meeting of the Consultative Council of the Religious Cults of Romania (CCRCR) took place in Bucharest on 26 April, under the chairmanship of patriarch Daniel of the Romenian Orthodox Church, with participation of representatives of ten religious cults. During the meeting, the Statute of the CCRCR was approved. The central theme of the session was Good health - gift of God and human responsibility. Participants expressed their interest in promoting a more efficient public sanitary system guided by the principles of social ethics. The CCRCR declared support for the legislative initiatives protecting life from the moment of conception and traditional values of family. Among the matters discussed there was also a question of compensations for the Churches´ property confiscated by the communist regime, as well as the request to the State authorities to adopt legislative measures regarding the VAT paid by the recognised religious cults and its return for social-philanthropic, cultural-educational and municipal-administrative activities. (continued)
(Sir Europe - Brussels) - Making the European Union more attentive to older people and capable of adapting to an ageing population, as well as capable of making solidarity between generations a priority on the European agenda: this is the aim of the European Day of Solidarity between Generations, due to be celebrated across Europe on 29 April. This year the Day will be celebrated in the context of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. The agenda for the Day is full of events (organised, for instance, in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom). The European Year - the EU says - is intended to raise awareness of the contribution that older people make to society. It seeks to encourage policymakers and relevant stakeholders at all levels to take action with the aim of creating better opportunities for active ageing and strengthening solidarity between generations. For more information about the Day, please visit the website www.europa.eu or the official website for the Year at http://europa.eu/ey2012.
As well as being the leader of the Church of England, the archbishop of Canterbury is the head of all of the Anglican Community scattered ll over the world. And the appointment of an archbishop of Canterbury - Lord Luce points out - is extremely significant, not least for the other Christian confessions and the other faiths. Archbishop Rowan made an excellent contribution to all these areas. Finding a worthy successor will be no easy task for the Commission". The Crown Nominations Commission has been tasked with submitting the name of the new archbishop of Canterbury to the Prime Minister, who will then ask for the agreement of Her Majesty the Queen. The release states that the name of the new archbishop will be announced in autumn. The Commission is an institution of the Church that brings together priests and lay people, as well as delegates of the Anglican Communion from all over the world.
The name of the new archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, is expected to be announced in autumn. It was stated today in a release from London. The procedure for the selection and appointment of the next archbishop of Canterbury has actually begun by now, after Rowan Williams resigned. The English Prime Minister appointed Lord Richard Luce president of the Crown Nominations Commission, which has the delicate task of selecting the next archbishop. In commenting on such appointment, Lord Luce said that it is a great privilege. I approach this task with humbleness and with a strong sense of responsibility, which I will share with the Commission members. I am perfectly aware of the meaning of the role the archbishop plays, both nationally and all over the world. It is of course an extremely important role for both the Church of England and for the broader community of out country, given the contribution made by the Church to our society, at all levels. (continued)
Turkey must protect the monastery of Mor Gabriel: this is the appeal made by all parties in the Bundestag, the German Federal Parliament, which last night discussed an appeal to such effect. In addition, the groups highlighted the pressure placed on Christians. The monastery is the symbol of Turkeys approach to the Christian institutions and the religious minorities, stated Erika Steinbach (Cdu), spokesperson of the Unions group for Human Rights. The appeal asks the Federal Government to work with the support of the EU partners to make the Turkish government protect the monastery in the long run and let non-Muslim religious minorities have a legal status and be entitled to assert their rights, with no restrictions. Despite few and minor progress, the text reads, religious freedom in Turkey is still widely restricted. From the opposition benches, the spokesperson of the Environmentalist party for religious issues, Josef Wrinkler, also censored the Turkish situation, speaking of the monastery as of the tip of the iceberg: An almost biblical exodus is taking place for the Christian minority of Turkey, and lots of monasteries have been expropriated.
(Sir Europe - Brussels) - Reviving growth with no further debts in the EU member states. This morning the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, who met in Brussels, agreed on such two points: Our discussion - a joint release states - focussed on the current economic situation in Europe and in particular in the euro-zone. We are facing substantial challenges in terms of growth and high employment rates. The revival of growth must take place through relentless hard work for improving competitiveness, not through further debt, state Barroso and Monti, who have already fixed a further meeting for 15th May in the run-up to the European Council in June. So tax consolidation must go hand in hand with targeted investments to improve competitiveness while helping reviving demand in the short term. The Head of the EU Executive and the Italian Prime Minister also point out that theres a need to further develop the single market, which is the most important way to promote growth and employment and improve the enforcement of its rules. In particular, faster and more effective progress must be made in digital economy, energy and services.
The Day celebrated on 28th April is part of a broader campaign launched by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work named Lets work together to prevent risks. The EUs workplaces are - according to the Agency - safer and healthier than before, but 6.9 million accidents and lots of occupational diseases still happen every year, especially in factories and building sites. Human suffering caused by low health and safety levels is immeasurable, and the financial cost has been estimated at 490 billion euros a year. The new campaign launched by the EU Agency focusses on the importance of the managements and labours involvement in improving health and safety at work. For the launch of the campaign in Brussels, the EU Commissioner for employment and welfare, László Andor, stated: Over the last ten years, Europe has made great progress in the area of health and safety at work, and this must be continued. It has been proven that giving priority to such issues is not only the right thing to do, it is also economically beneficial, and advantages include lower costs, more productivity, more serene and productive labour, fewer sick leaves, fewer accidents, a better standing with suppliers and partners.
(Sir Europe - Brussels) - The World Day for Safety and Health at Work, which, as usual, falls on 28th April, will be about green jobs this year. European society, and not only that, is facing epoch-making challenges, such as climate change and sustainability. Thats why the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, in the light of the ILO programme (International Labour Organization, www.ilo.org), decided to run a campaign about health and safety in green economy. In this area as well, according to the European Agency -, the prediction of risks, which may come in many forms, is a priority. Green jobs actually cover different areas, for instance work in energy plants, production and installation of solar panels, waste recycling, or work in contaminated areas. Workers may be exposed to a wide range of risks: from traditional ones, such as falling (for example while installing a wind turbine) to risks that are still pretty much unknown, such as exposure to new materials brought into the workplace. The ILO and EU Agencys goal is to make sure all men and women have access to productive jobs in a state of freedom, equality, safety and human dignity. (continued)
According to the website www.politics.hu, in early April Zsolt Barath, a lawmaker of the radical nationalist Jobbik party, spoke in the parliament in honour of a young girl and quoted allegations from the time of her death in 1882 that she had been killed by Jews in Tiszaeszlar, a village in the north-east Hungary. Barath said the judiciary had sought to conceal it and the judge, under pressure from outside had acquitted the accused. The Tiszaeszlar blood libel is a recurring synonym for anti-Semitism. The government said Baraths remarks were completely unacceptable and resolutely condemned all manifestations directed openly or obliquely against a social group or a minority in Hungary. The Central Prosecutors Office started an investigation triggered by an appeal of Slomo Koves, head of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation.
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - Leaders of the Catholic, Reformed and Lutheran Churches have protested against anti-Semitic remarks made by a radical nationalist MP in an address to Hungarian parliament. It is our duty to protest against incitement of hatred, reads a joint statement signed by cardinal Péter Erdö, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference; bishop Gusztav Bolcskei, president of the General Synod of the Reformed Church; and bishop Péter Gancs, president of the Lutheran Church. Affirming that politicians and lawmakers have increased responsibility to fight dissemination of hatred, the heads of Churches invite everyone to follow and spread Christs commandment of love and acceptation of one another, to cooperate on the base of real human values. (continued)
Entrusting to God the fears and hopes of the citizens of the European continent. With his goal, on Europe Day, the Council of European Bishops Conferences (Ccee) will officiate a Mass for Europe, on Wednesday 9th May at 7.30 pm, in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The ambassadors of the European countries to the Holy See are expected to attend such Mass, officiated by the president of Ccee, card. Péter Erdő, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest. 9th May, Europes Day, is also the anniversary of the Schuman declaration: on 9th May 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proclaimed the values and ideals that are at the source of the European Union. Today, this date is celebrated as one of the milestones in the creation of the EU. And it is precisely during a EU summit held in Milan in 1985 that 9th May was proclaimed Europe Day"‘. Celebrations and events organised to celebrate Europe Day are an opportunity to bring Europe closer to its citizens and the European Unions peoples closer to each other.
All eyes trained on the catechesis of children and young people aged 7 to 16. This will be addressed by the bishops and national directors of the national offices and organisations in charge of the catechesis at the European Bishops Conferences, when they gather in Rome from 7th to 10th May to attend the XII European Congress for catechesis. Christian initiation in the perspective of the new evangelisation is the theme that has been chosen this year for the meeting promoted by the Council of European Bishops Conferences (Ccee) and prepared by the Catechesis, school and university Ccee Commission chaired by mgr. Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster and president of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales. They will be welcomed by the General Secretary of the Italian Bishops Conference (Cei), mgr. Mariano Crociata. A release posted by Ccee today recalls that this year the Church will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Finally, the Year of Faith launched by the Holy Father will open in October and will last from 11th October 2012 to 24th November 2013.
All of Europe is looking keenly - and confidently - to France, so it hopes the populist rumours that echoed during the election campaign will give way to the respect of the great values that are at the core of continental integration, the founding fathers of which include such illustrious Frenchmen as Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet and Jacques Delors. In Paris, the fight between the two nominees is in full swing - as stated in a note from Sir Europe (click here) in the run-up to the second ballot for the presidential election of 6th May - and it seems to be focussed above all on a number of internal factors: the attitude that will be taken by the nominees ruled out at the first ballot; the voters sensitivity in going back to vote, defeating abstentionism; the problems of employment, immigration, the cost of living … but, in the current global scenarios, it is more than understandable that such a high-profile duel should be watched with keen attention abroad, especially in Europe, too. Uncertainty about the end result makes any forecast impossible: that is partly why the EU institutions remain cautious. The Union has chosen a place in the front row as a spectator of the election challenge, it hopes populists will not prevail over Frances pro-European tendency, and hopes that on May 7th it will find a reliable, strong player, who will be willing to go, once again, in the direction of building a united Europe.
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - Love of Christ draws us through the testimony of faith of SS. Cyril and Methodius. An international pilgrimage with this title, organized by Radio Lumen, the only Catholic radio station in Slovakia, will take place on 12 May in the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland. Last years edition saw the presence of more than 20.000 pilgrims, says Juraj Spuchlak, director of the radio, inviting the faithful to experience an atmosphere of unity and gratitude towards the merciful Jesus. The Holy Mass will be celebrated by the president of the Bishops Conference of Slovakia, Mons. Stanislav Zvolenský. Live broadcasting of the event will offer opportunity to participate spiritually also to those who, for some reason, are not able to travel to Krakow. The program will include recitation of the Rosary, discussion with Slovak bishops and invited guests, Eucharistic adoration and a lecture by the sisters from the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy on the mystery of the merciful love of God. For more information: www.lumen.sk.
(Sir Europe - Bratislava) - Discussion about effective means of overcoming orphanhood in the Lviv province will be the main point of the program of the conference due to be held today. According to the representatives of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC)s Commission on Family Matters, its goal is to coordinate the efforts on behalf of orphans and children deprived of parental care, and to bring together all those who provide assistance in this regard. The conference was initiated by the Ukraine Without Orphans Alliance, the Lviv community and Church organizations and institutions. Attention will focus on family-oriented methods of assisting orphans and children deprived of parental care. Emphasis will also be put on the measures undertaken by the Church and community organizations to reduce the number of orphans in the region. Today, the nations priority in the area of the protection of rights and interests of children is to place them in families - adoption and foster care. It is in the family that the child can develop as a fully mature person, explained Maria Sakvuk from the UGCC Commission, expressing conviction that in Lviv there are many open-hearted individuals who are willing to welcome a child in their family circle.