COMECE, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Belarus

COMECE: on “Europeinfos” themes of European scope The persecution of Christians and climate changes are the main themes of the March issue of Europeinfos, the magazine of the Bishops’ Conference of the European Community (COMECE), from March 2 online on the website www.comece.org. In addition to the editorial, to articles on the martyrdom of Christians and on religious minorities, the publication features an interview with Msgr. Silvano Tomasi, permanent Observer of the Holy See at the UN seat in Geneva. “The EU should not be shun facing the question of Christians’ persecution”, the archbishop said. “There’s a humanitarian obligation that the EU can give and must continue in solidarity with these persecuted groups, to provide food, shelter and education”. Micheal Kuhn expressed his criticism of the questionable decision taken by the European Commission to withdraw “the package on circular economy”, ambitious, reasonable proposals in the field of waste recycle for debate in the European Parliament. Kuhn wonders whether it “could it be the consequence of pressure exerted by Eurobusiness”, the European entrepreneurs network. Slovakia: new books for religious education New textbooks for the religious education of primary and secondary school pupils in Slovakia will reportedly be available for the next school year, as of September 1st 2015. It’s the first time that unified didactic material for religious education is published at national level. That’s why the Commission for Catechesis and Education of the Bishops’ Conference of Slovakia has decided to put together the official schoolbooks for pupils of different ages. For Marek Cimbal, from the centre for pedagogy and Catechism, the quality of these religion schoolbooks is a priority. “These books should enable the development of the Catechesis system in schools, which is very important in our society, and we hope they may be useful also for catechesis in the parish, in order to provide the best formation in the field of the Catholic religion and its knowledge. We believe it to be a fundamental project in the area of the new evangelization”. Two kinds of religion books will be published in the coming months: one for Catholics of Latin Rite and one for Greek-Catholics. “A negotiation is currently under way with the minister for Education to find the best way to distribute this material across primary and secondary schools in Slovakia”, said Mons. Bernard Bober, archbishop of Kosice, president of the Commission for catechesis. Czech Republic: new website of Zelena Hora A new website was launched by the website of the church of St. John of Nepomuk in the famous pilgrimage site (Green Mountain) in Zdar nad Sazavou to prompt the interest of pilgrims and tourists. The initiative draws inspiration from last year’s transfer of the shrine’s property from the national Institute of Catholic Church monuments to the parish church of Zdar nad Sazavou for administrative purposes. The website www.zelena-hora.cz provides complete information on the activities and the events that will take place in Zelena hora, in addition to a historical presentation, practical information on pilgrimages and a rich collection of photos and videos. There is also the possibility of booking a guided tour through an online registration form. The representatives of the local parish said they hope that the interest of pilgrims and tourists may grow thanks to the activities planned for the coming months, featuring the Night of Nicodemus on March 16 to reflect in silence on the personal relationship with Jesus Christ in the site of the ancient shrine. For further information: www.nikodemovanoc.cz. Belarus: Theology Academy in Minsk The new Academy of Higher Theology Studies Saint John Paul II was officially registered by the State authorities in Minsk upon request of the Bishops’ Conference of Belarus. The purpose of the first Catholic educational institution of this kind in the Country will be to provide education and formation to the clergy and the laity, so they may be able to carry out various activities inside the Church with an appropriate professional preparation. The academy will have its headquarter in Minsk. The episcopate has a set of tasks to address in the coming weeks such as providing a building and develop an educational program. For Mons. Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, archbishop of Minsk-Mogilev, registration of the Academy and of the entire project will “undoubtedly contribute to the development of Belarus culture as well as of its spiritual dimension”.

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