Romania, Jesuit, Institut Catholique

Romania: the gift of Patriarch Daniel”We were in different churches for eight days, but we meditated on the same Word. We too, as the apostles, bear witness to the death and resurrection of the Lord. Our prayer for unity is a good school where we can learn to love our neighbour, even though he is a member of another Church”. The words of Roman-Catholic archbishop Ioan Robu closed the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity past January 25. The solemn closing ceremony held in the Orthodox patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest was attended also by auxiliary bishop Msgr. Cornel Damian, and by representatives of the Greek-Catholic, Armenian, Reformed and Lutheran (German-speaking) Churches. During the liturgical celebration, in sign of communion, Orthodox Patriarch Daniel presented Msgr. Robu with fragments of the relic of Saints Epictet and Astion. From this year onwards the Saints will be celebrated also in the Roman-Catholic calendar. The Eastern martyr Saints lived in the years 290 A.D. Their relics were brought to light in 2001 in Romania’s South East region of Dobrogea, near the Black Sea.Jesuits’ award to the archbishop of CanterburyA few days ago the archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, leader of the Anglican Communion, was awarded with the Campion Award for Achievement in Christian Letters by the editors of the Jesuit magazine America in New York. Dr. Williams was honored with the award “named after St Edmund Campion SJ (1540-1581 ed.’s note), one of the foremost Catholic martyrs of the English Reformation and the patron Saint of our magazine”, said the editor-in-chief of “America” Fr. Drew Christiansen during the ceremony for the presentation of the Campion award. “It is itself a mark of the onward progress in Christian ecumenism born 100 years ago, when the churches of Scotland gathered in Edinburgh to foster unity in their missionary witness”, he said. “The Church of England took the first step by placing Edmund Campion among the Forty Saints and Martyrs of the English Reformation canonized by Pope Paul VI in the Anglican Church’s own liturgical calendar, with a feast on May 4th”, Fr. Christiansen recalled. Thus the Campion Award 2009 is not only a “a literary celebration”. It is also “an observance of martyrial ecumenism -the ecumenism of martyrs-as Pope John Paul II called it, which shows the path towards unity”. Father Christiansen acknowledged the contribution of the Archbishop of Canterbury as “theologian, apologist, culture critic and translator” and that he “heightened the readers’ receptivity to transcendence, opened their minds to revelation and diagnosed the spiritual ills that debilitate our post-Christian culture”. “Archbishop Williams is a prophet to a post-Christian age”, said Fr. Christiansen, “in his prolific career as a scholar and writer, he has shared in the ministry of the Word at which Saint Edmund Campion excelled, whose 470th anniversary is celebrated this year, and to which the Society of Jesus is committed”. Jesuit Edmund Campion was beatified by pope Pius XI on December 15 1929 and canonized along with other 39 English martyrs on October 25 by pope Paul VI.Institut Catholique: the first Muslim graduates”My formation has enabled me to comprehend religious institutions and rules and to discover the force of dialogue”. Messaouda Houha, 47, mother of five, arrived nine years ago from Algeria. Chaplain at the military hospital of Lyon, Messaouda is one of the first twenty-two Muslim students – of which six women – that a few days ago graduated from the Institut Catholique in Paris (ICP) in “Interculturality, laity and religions”. The course, explained the vice-dean Francois Bousquet, was set up in 2007 at the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences for “the coordinators of religious, cultural and social institutions, notably Muslims”. Marwa Cherif, 22, is the daughter of the President of the Regional Council of Islamic faith in Normandy. Her dissertation focuses on the fiscal implications of the bill of 1905. “This course has help me see things from a different perspective”. Rachid Ayak, 39, is a trader and Imam at the Islamic cultural centre of Bourg-en-Bresse (Ain), with a diploma in theology obtained at the university of Medina. He said that the formation provided by the ICP has improved his “understanding of the cultural tenets of French society and the principles of the social pact that French society reposes on”, thus “helping Muslims freely profess their religion in the framework of a secular society”. The course is directed by Sociologist Olivier Bobineau, who defined it “an effective antidote to the clash of civilizations”. This year the course is attended by some thirty students, 4 of whom are women, and for the first time also by African students.

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