Portugal, Switzerland, Germany

Portugal: European encounter of youth vocational ministryIn view of the upcoming visit of Benedict XVI to Portugal May 11-14 the Neocatecumenal Way organized a vocational encounter of prayer and evangelization. 25-50 thousand young people from across Europe will convene at the Sanctuary in Fatima. Presenting the initiative, the organization’s spokesman Fernando Alvarez explained, “the Neocatechumenal Way is a formational itinerary of small communities that come together in parishes on the initiative of the parish priest. Following a brief period of Catechesis, the members, young and old, from different social classes and education backgrounds, in the rediscovery of the inexhaustible treasure of baptism and the participation in the Sacraments, tear down the cultural barriers and form a community with a single heart and a single soul, where the other is Christ”. The encounter in Fatima (May 14), called by the Neocatechumenal Way founders Kiko Argüello, Carmen Hernández, and by father Mario Pezzi, will be presided over by the Cardinal of Lisbon Msgr. José Policarpo: “The program envisages the youth’s participation in all the celebrations held during the Papal visit, when they will proclaim the Word in the streets. Upon the return from the Sanctuary, participants will attend a procession of the image of the Virgin Mary, followed by Catechesis. Finally, a “Vocational calling”, will invite the youth to enter in seminary or cloister convent with the support of the Vocational Centers of the respective nations”.Switzerland: May 16, media Sunday “More good news”: it is the slogan of Media Sunday, due to be celebrated next May 16 across the Country. The initiative, promoted by the Swiss Catholic Press Association (ACSP) on mandate of the Media Commission of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference, is illustrated on the website www.buone-notizie-in-piu.ch. “The media contribute to the concept we have of institutions, individuals, persons, opinions. This also applies to the Church and to the faith. For this reason, – writes father Italo Molinaro, director of the Catholic Radio and TV Centre of Lugano in the event’s presentation – the Church cannot distance herself from information activities. She needs her means of communication and must sustain them. This is evidently not free of costs, which is the purpose of the Sunday money collection”. The Website of the Day will “devote ample space to good news, in a world used to valuing the news on the basis of the amount of conflict and scandals. The Catholic Church looks forward to receive reports on successful initiatives, or those on special events in the parish, in the pastoral area or canton, for example. The news on a living Church is good news for society”. The campaign focuses on news regarding ecclesial life. However, the priest adds, “all that is good, true and just will be valued by the good news website. Not do-gooders, but everyday facts that highlight the force of goodness, even in simple deeds”. The theme of the initiative was chosen before the sexual abuse scandal broke out, thus it is not to be seen as a countermove, explained the abbot of Einsiedeln, Msgr. Martin Werlen. The flow of bad news for the Church must be taken seriously, without excuses. “Only if we openly address all that lies behind these news items, will the good news gain the place it deserves. The good news does not even out the bad news. Rather, it provides a wholesome picture of the reality we live in”.Germany: minimum wage and workers’ protection On the occasion of May 1st, Workers’ Day, the archbishop of Berlin, cardinal Georg Sterzinsky voiced his support for minimum wages and greater protection from labor force exploitation. “If the parties negotiating the wages accept that people live on what they earn, then they must also ensure minimum wages”, Sterzinsky said in Berlin. Furthermore, “Also ‘illegal’ workers must be given the possibilities of petitioning the Labor Court without risking deportation. Until now they could not, and this encourages unfair working conditions”, His Eminence said. “Even those who oppose the employment of illegal migrants cannot tolerate such situations”, the cardinal pointed out. The archbishop of Magonza, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, also spoke on the theme of work on May 1st, demanding “renewed solidarity” in a “fragmented society”, where “often individual interests and needs prevail”. Instead, on the basis of the “social doctrine of the Church mutual solidarity is a moral duty”, Cardinal Lehmann said.

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