Austria, CCEE, Slovakia

Austria: the bishops’ appeal for European elections Austrian bishops appealed to participation in the European elections of May 22-25, casting a vote that may reflect the will of the “founding fathers” of Europe, mostly conceived by Christian men and women is a central theme emerged in the spring session of the plenary of the Austrian bishops’ conference. The meeting was held in the Abbey of Admont March 24-27. In their final statement the bishops underlined that European integration must be a project of peace. From a European perspective the documents presenting a summary of the meeting underlined two themes reiterated on various occasions by the Austrian Church in the pastoral activity of the past years: on the one side the need to develop and implement European economic policies with the purpose of eliminating high unemployment rates among young people in EU countries while undertaking a common action to ensure the adoption of equal and responsible legislation for migrants and asylum-seekers, and aimed at a fair distribution across EU member countries: “Europe should act with greater solidarity and with the necessary determination to prevent tragedies such as the tragedy that occurred off the Lampedusa shores. May they never happen again”, the bishops wrote. CCEE: university pastoral care and the Gospel The world of young people, relations with adults, surfing virtual reality, the pontentials of Twitter, Gospel proclamation: these were the themes addressed in Tirana (Albania) in a meeting of the heads of university pastoral in Europe, organized from March 23-25 by the CCEE Commission “Catechesis. School, university – University Department” on the theme “Joie de vivre: what is it really?” The event was attended by priests and lay people actively committed in university pastoral in European cities. Kaja Kamierska, Sociology Professor at the University of Lódz (Poland), was asked to speaj of “what happens in students’ lives today”. For the young generation “the Internet stands as one of their major sources, if not the major source of reference in terms of information, communication, expression of emotions and social contacts”, the Professor said. Also Fr José Clavería, serving as parish priest in the UK, with a long experience of university pastoral in Vienna and Spain in his speech underlined that “If the grounds in the life of the youths are unstable and sometimes become a desert – he said – that is the place where the Word must be sown. He suggested: “For Gospel proclamation we don’t have to wait for a fertile ground, the Gospel has the effect of ‘reclaiming’ the land where it will set roots”. Slovakia: the canonization of Sister Schelingová The diocesan stage of the canonization process of Blessed Zdenka Schelingová, religious of the Congregation of the Daugthers of Mercy of the Holy Cross, who died in 1955 after years of imprisonment and tortures by the Communists in Slovakia, has come to a conclusion. Almost 700 pages on her life, including testimonies and the medical certificates of a patient in Denver, United States, who said he healed thanks to the intercession of the Blessed sister Zdenka, were sent to the postulator of the cause at the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. “The Vatican stage of the examination process of the supposed miracle has begun. If it is proved that the healing cannot be explained with the medical documentation, we can hope that the Holy Father may decide in favour of the canonization of Sister Zdenka Schelingová, martyr of the Communist regime”, said Sister Sebastiana Tuptová, provincial superior of the Congregation of the Daugherts of Mercy. Blessed Zdenka served as a nurse in several hospitals in the 1940s. In 1952 she was arrested by the national security forces, accused of treason and sentenced to 12 years in jail. She was released in 1955 owing to her poor health and died a few months after. She was blessed by Pope John Paul II in 2003.

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