Spain, The Netherlands, Bulgaria

Spain: 25 years of Missionary formation school The Missionary Formation School celebrates its 25th anniversary at the service of missionary activity in Spain: twenty-five years of commitment and dedication to provide the necessary preparation to all those who feel called to the mission ad gentes. In recent years over 135 students have attended its classes. Monsignor Ramón del Hoyo, bishop of Jaén, member of the Bishops’ Commission for Missions, in the commemoration of the anniversary, celebrated in the framework of the Assembly of the delegates of missions, invited all educationists of the Missionary Formation Institute to continue working with joy “so all missionaries, priests, religious or lay Catholic will be duly prepared for their missionary activity; in this field the Missionary Formation Institute is the best option”. For the heads of the Missionary Institute the 25th anniversary is a reason for joy that encourages them “to bring forth this commitment so that the Lord may continue giving good and productive fruits with the missionaries who bestow so much unto the mission”. On the occasion of the anniversary was created a video “The joy of proclaiming the Gospel, 25 years of the Missionary Formation Institute”, with testimonies of professors, pupils, alumni and members of the spiritual animation team. Info: www.escuelaformacionmisionera.org The Netherlands: survey on work-free Sunday A few days ago the Council of the Churches of The Netherlands launched a survey on the Sunday opening of shops to collect the opinion of believers on this issue at a time when the liberalization of opening-hours is being questioned in many town council regulations. As of 2013 a national law authorizes smaller municipalities – compelled to 12 festive openings a year – to reconsider the decision. However, tourist sites must ensure Sunday opening all year round. “This is the holy day for Christians, intended for the religious dimension and the family. In many municipalities, however, shops have been open on Sundays long since”, said Arie Cook, coordinator of the survey. A part of the questionnaire also inquires into opportunities for the Church in an environment where shops are open on Sunday. The question is whether “the Churches should speak against the opening” or if “they should keep their doors open also when shops are open on Sunday” (during lunch-break or when there are no liturgies scheduled) for Sunday-shoppers. One of the questions asks whether, in that case, it is for faithfulness to the missionary spirit of the Church or if instead it would mean “pleasing political whims”. Since 2009 European Churches have defended the right “to a weekly day of rest” to protect workers and families alike. Bulgaria: cooperation between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches Bulgaria’s Orthodox and Catholic Churches could cooperate for the defence of Christian values across Bulgarian society, in the areas of care for the poor and the weak and environmental protection, states the Bulgarian Patriarchate in a note published October 7, on the occasion of a meeting between Bulgarian Patriarch Neofit and the apostolic nuncio in Bulgaria and Macedonia, Mons. Anselmo Guido Pecorari. The meeting took place the previous day in the patriarchal seat in Sofia. The pontifical representative conveyed to the Patriarch the fraternal greetings of the Holy Father, reiterating Francis’ availability to fix a common day for the celebration of Easter proposed by the Orthodox Churches. On his part Neofit reaffirmed his appreciation of the Pope’s visit to the United States. From the meeting it emerged that the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin is planning a visit to Bulgaria in January 2016. Among the subjects broached figure the situation of the refugees and the Bishops’ Synod. Special importance in the relations between the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church was placed on the annual participation of the Orthodox clergy in the delegation received by the Pope on the occasion of the Festivity of Saints Cyril and Methodius.

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