- Europe english
Portugal, Ukraine, Poland
Portugal: Fátima, for the humanization of society
In the Lenten message titled “Following the path of faith for the humanization of society” the bishop of Leiria-Fátima, Msgr. António Marto, invited all Christians “to awaken from a state of spiritual anaesthesia”, underlining that the upcoming liturgical period “must revive within our hearts the longing for God that is so often asleep, in order to express more concretely and intensely fraternal charity”. With the worsening of the economic crisis, the prelate asks the faithful of the diocese to “reserve greater interest to those people and families that are most seriously hit by the crisis, to worry about their needs, exercising true solidarity”. For this, the Presbyterial council has decided to devolve the offerings of the “Lenten renunciation” to the Caritas of Leiria. As in the past years, in order to cultivate and promote spiritual social commitment for the sanctification of the world, for Lent 2012 the bishop of Leiria-Fátima will re-propose the “Retreat for the people of God, in the form of meditated readings of the Bible, enriched with testimonies on the life of the Saints and other examples of social dedication”. Christians are called to “walk together in sanctity and in the good works of justice and development of the human person to the service of the humanization of the world”, the message concludes.
Ukraine: the Golden Cross to Father Vyshkovskyy
It is an “honour: there is much more honoured priests, monks, nuns and lay people in Ukraine who have kept the faith during the persecution, endured until today”. Father Pavlo Vyshkovskyy thus commented on the announcement of the conferral of the Golden Cross Pro Eccelesia et Pontefice by Benedict XVI. The religious of the Missionaries Oblates of Mary Immaculate for the past six years was the secretary at the Apostolic Nunciature in Ukraine. He is currently the Director of the Catholic Media Center in Kiev and the spokesperson of the Ukrainian Bishops’ Conference. Father Vyshkovskyy also initiated the establishment of Radio Maria Ukraine and of the Catholic TV network Ewtn, as well as various editorial projects. The decoration was awarded on February 21 at Ukraine’s Apostolic Nunciature in Kiev by the Papal Nuncio, Msgr. Thomas E. Gullickson. Upon receiving the golden medal father Vyshkovskyy said he wants “this honour to be shared with Ukrainian martyrs” and with “my parents, with the OMI Congregation, and all those whom God has put in my life way throughout this time”.
Poland: KEP, faith isn’t separate from life
In the Letter for the Lenten period, Msgr. Jozef Michalik, President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference (KEP), agrees with the chair of the Institute for inter-cultural dialogue in Brussels Marguerite Peeters, that revolutionary changes are expected to take place at global level, equally involving the political and cultural spheres. The new culture, which draws its roots from post-modernism, explains Msgr. Michalik, “promotes cultural relativism, abortion, homosexual unions” and “leads the cultural revolution that excludes God and His commandments” to follow that direction. But since “Christian faith cannot be separated from life, the Church has the moral duty to evaluate the so-called new ethics and guard against distortions”. Underlining the motto of the current pastoral year - “the Church is our home”-, the KEP president said that all faithful are called to be committed for a creating a peaceful atmosphere. “Today we all see that the Church is the target of Libertine, Atheist and Mason circles” said Msgr. Michalik, who recalled that “not even televisions and other liberal media spare criticism of the Church”, accusing governmental authorities to “discriminate against Catholic television networks”. The KEP president also guards against divisions inside the Church that highlight cases of insubordination to superiors among the religious. Lent, concludes the archbishop of Przemysl, “is a great occasion for a conscience examination, for repentance and conversion, it is a time of deep prayer and contemplation of the Cross which for all of us represents the way to redemption”.