Slovakia, Poland, “One of us”

Slovakia: mass media school with the Salesians “The Mass Media School has enabled me to have many positive experiences in an environment of clever people. I have learnt to improve the style of my writing, to take pictures and make videos. I would like to put this into practice to promote the Centre for university pastoral of Trencín” (Slovakia), along with “other organizations committed in the area of youth pastoral care”, said Jaroslav Spodniak, who has just graduated from the media school, a two-year program of media education run by the Salesian youth association “Laura”. “We offer four courses designed to cover key areas of media activity, both theory and practice”, said Monika Èižmárová, project manager. Five young people have so far graduated from the school and many others have shown an interest in participating. According to Èižmárová, students learn to express themselves and to realize their values in journalism, to analyze multimedia content and, in this way, they can enrich the media in Slovakia with a “Christian perspective”. The latest course, recently completed, was dedicated to the production of a film and it ended with a marathon of short documentaries recorded and edited by the students themselves. Poland: Wojtyla Saint, numerous initiatives As many as 500 thousand Polish pilgrims are expected to attend the canonization ceremony of John XXIII and John Paul II. Many are already on their way, covering by foot some 2000 kilometres: from their homes to St. Peter’s Square. Some Polish faithful are running all the way, cycling, and there are even those who will arrive riding a horse. The most numerous, however, are those who will reach Rome by car, train or plane. Throughout Poland the faithful are preparing for the great celebration of 27 April also by declaring vows and good intentions on the web or in the form of text messages. These messages, the first of which were posted a long time ago, will be collected and printed in a book that will be presented to Pope Francis on the day of the canonization. In the meantime, debates and conferences on the figure of Karol Wojtyla are being held throughout Polish parishes, while books, DVDs and publications on the life of the Polish Pope are almost sold out. The museum of the birth house of Pope John Paul II in Wadowice, reopened after thorough renovation works only in the last few days, has been visited by nearly 3 thousand people. The live TV broadcast of the canonization ceremony will be followed not only in homes but also in many churches and public squares such as the one dedicated to Jozef Pilsudski in the center of Warsaw, where Karol Wojtyla in June 1979 uttered the memorable appeal “Let your Spirit descend! And renew the face of the earth. Of this Earth”. “One of us”: pro-life voices reach Strasbourg The citizens’ initiative “One of Us” represents a “democratic challenge to the European Commission”. Patrick Gregor Puppinck, spokesperson of the pro-life popular initiative that over the past months enjoyed the support of numerous Christian associations, parishes, dioceses as well as the encouragement of Pope Francis, and which collected almost two million signatures, brought the voice of movements and citizens who demand that embryo protection be enshrined within EU policies before the European Parliament. After the hearing, held behind closed doors at the Commission, followed by the gathering in the Brussels seat of the EP on April 10, “One of Us” was presented at the end of the last plenary session before the vote in May. Puppink, invited by the Pan-European Working Group, described the various stages of the Initiative, which, he said, “is wanted by the population”. “We are asking that the Commission ceases to have exclusive powers on legislative initiatives within the regulatory framework” of the Community, the spokesperson pointed out. For this reason, all MEPs, “regardless of their beliefs on our initiative”, should support this approach. “We have presented a testimony on the fact that life begins since the moment of conception”, as recognized in a decision by the EU Court of Justice. The purpose of “One of Us” is to stop EU funding of research involving the destruction of embryos and abortion-promoting procedures in the framework of cooperation for development.

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