Bishop’s Monthly Letter
My dear Fathers, Please accept my sincere wishes for a very happy and a grace-filled new year 2018. The new year dawns with great hopes for the country and the Church. However, if these dreams and hopes are to be realized all persons of good will should collaborate in bringing about reconciliation, peace, unity and authentic development in our Motherland. In the Church we have focused on our beloved Apostle St. Joseph Vaz and his heroic sanctity and burning missionary zeal throughout the past year. It is amazing that in a situation of severe persecution he along with his faithful servant John, did so much to revive the faith of a persecuted flock and later with a few more companions he laid a solid foundation for a truly missionary Church because of his vision and commitment .
While we thank God for the year gone by that helped us to keep alive the memory of this great missionary and our endeavours to bring about a renewal in our own Diocese, we realize that we have to continue this journey in this new year that is why we decided together that we would continue to focus on St. Joseph Vaz and his tremendous sanctity and missionary zeal.
The theme we have decided on is “Deepening our faith in view of becoming powerful witnesses to Lord Jesus and the Gospel”. I wish to draw your particular attention to the fact that we need to pay special attention to two aspects of our apostolate.
One is to deepen the faith of our faithful by well prepared homilies, adult catechesis programmes and laying greater emphasis on the Word of God. We need to organize Bible classes in every parish and institution for different sectors of God’s people. We are to utilize not only the word of God but also to pray together to deepen the bonds of our common faith and solidarity.
The second aspect will be to devote all our attention on the poor and the marginalized members of our parishes and communities as did of St. Joseph Vaz . Our special attention will have to be drawn towards the sick, the aged, the housebound parishioners . In order to make our care for them effective we need to frequently visit them and organize neighbourhood groups to pay visits to them and pray with them and for them. Let us remember what St. John Paul II said, “ A faith that is shared, is faith that is deepened”. I urge you therefore, to begin to reflect upon this year and its objectives and begin to share it with the Religious and faithful of your parishes and institutions and obtain their views in order to formulate specific pastoral programmes for this year.
All our monthly recollections and on going formation programmes will help us to carry out wellformulated pastoral projects. Right at the beginning of the year it is good for us to realize that we owe it to the Lord and to our own vocation as priests to be loving shepherds to rededicate ourselves and intensify our pastoral efforts. If we faithfully carry out our missionary endeavour with a participatory approach, fundamentalists will not be able to mislead our people from the true faith and our need to strive for holiness at all levels.
We love the Lord, our beloved Saviour and we are prepared to do our utmost to build up his kingdom. let us therefore heed His voice and become loving and caring Shepherds. With renewed wishes and prayers for a very fruitful and pastorally effective new year 2018.
Yours devotedly in the Lord,
Bishop Vianney Fernando,
Bishop of Kandy
Bishop’s Engagements in January
06th – – Episcopal Ordination of the new Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala
14th– 8.30 a.m – St. Joseph Vaz feast at St. Joseph Vaz Shrine, Ampitiya
16th– 5.00 p.m – St. Joseph Vaz feast at St. Anthony’s Cathedral, Kandy
21st – Cursillo Annual Convention
28th – Feast of St. Sebastian at Cholankanda
29th –30th – Clergy Monthly Recollection
WELCOME TO REV. FR. VINCENT WIJESOORIYA
A warm welcome to you Dear Fr. Vincent after a successful completion of your ministry in Dubai and we wish you all the very best as you have taken up your assignment as the parish priest Of rotawewa May the Lord bless you abundantly and your new mission The Bishop and the Presbyterium
The Ecumenical Carols Service held on 14th December at St. Anthony’s Cathedral with the participation of all mainline churches in Kandy was a great success. The police band and the carols sung by them added colour to the event. We sincerely thank our Director of the Diocesan Media Centre Fr. Sudath Rohana Perera and the organizing team for this very meaningful event. Congratulations Fr. Sudath and the team for reviving the Ecumenical Carol Service in preparation for Christmas.
The Bishop and the Presbyterium
Pope to seminarians: Don’t let self-interest get in the way of ministry
By Hannah Brockhaus
Pope Francis spoke to seminarians about the three-fold ministry of the priest: welcoming and including all, forming good relationships with God and others, and avoiding the pitfall of narcissism. “Not everything begins and ends with me,” he counseled Dec. 10. “I can and I have to look beyond myself, to realize the beauty and depth of the mystery that surrounds me, the life that surpasses me, the faith in God who sustains all things and all people, even me.” Meeting with seminarians studying at Pius XI Seminary in Puglia, a southern region of Italy, he explained that the seminary is the perfect time for formation in this area, so it is good to think about these things now, in order to have time to cultivate them. “In this liturgical season of Advent which sounds again the strong invitation of the Lord to keep watch, we are invited to keep watch over the real risk of being narcissistic, because without this watch no vocational journey is really possible,” he said. The first obstacle to overcome is the propensity for narcissism, “the most dangerous temptation,” he emphasized. “How can I realize Christ, if I only look at myself? How will I succeed in enjoying the beauty of the Church, if my only concern is to protect myself, save myself, come out unscathed by any circumstance?” the Pope asked. “How will I get excited in the adventure of building the Kingdom of God, if any enthusiasm is curbed by the fear of losing something of myself?” The priestly ministry, Francis explained, has a “threefold belonging: to the Lord, to the Church, to the Kingdom.” This belonging, however, requires having relationships, he said, “with Christ, with the brothers with whom we share the ministry and faith, with all the people we meet in life.” You cannot even think of becoming a priest if you haven’t made this decision to be a man of relationships. This should be the first goal, “progressing in this dimension.” But, he warned, “do not feel different from your peers,” do not feel that you are better than other people – “learn to be with everyone, do not be afraid to get your hands dirty.” “If tomorrow you will be priests who live in the midst of the holy people of God, begin today to be young people who know how to be with everyone, who can learn something from every person you meet, with humility and intelligence.” Underlying all other relationships, though, must be a solid, growing relationship with Christ, he said. For this, prayer is essential. “And the most mature fruit of prayer is always charity,” he stated. Finally, the Pope reminded the seminarians to be careful of excluding anyone. Because they belong to Christ, he said, they are called to meet people and welcome them into the community. “As you grow in the sense of belonging to the Church and enjoy the beauty of fraternity” make an effort to extend forgiveness to those around you, Pope Francis said. “If nothing in life excludes us from the merciful gaze of the Lord, why should our gaze then ever exclude anyone?”
Taken From : Vatican Radio
What people expect from you as a priest ……
As a priest you are ordained to proclaim the Good news of salvation. And as Christians, we are possessed by the love poured into our hearts. It is your task never to let us forget this, to remind of this great fact day in and day out- to celebrate it for us and with us at Mass to bring this saving healing to us in absolution – to quicken our marriages with its sacramental power – to strengthen us in our sufferings and anointing. We expect you to be a man of faith; We rely on your faith; as one who can be happy even when sorrowing; one whose perception of the eternal will give sense and importance to the temporal; and one who can look through and beyond our petty ambitions, our failures and successes and interpret them for us as God sees them. We expect you to be a man of prayer. For faith is nourished by prayer. We find prayer hard and unrewarding. We are familiar only with prayer of crisis and disaster. We don’t need Laborious exhortations on the subject of prayer, but we do need the strong example of prayerful men to enliven our faith, to cut through our apathy, to open our eyes to the life that is ours. We want you to give us an example of love. All of us, married or single will save our lives only if we learn to love. In your selfless devotion to our needs, we hope to find a lesson in love. We expect you to be human. We want you to understand that our growth as Christians depends on the environment in which we live. We want you to know our temptations, our weakness, our problems, our tastes, our entertainment. We want you to be concerned…………about our education, our homes, our jobs. Help to free us from our own indifference to the lack of love and social injustice in the world. In short, we want you to be a priest of God and people. You are a priest, in some sense separated from us, yet by that very fact you are more closely united to us. You are our priest. We want you never to forget that you are our priest. We rejoice in that fact today. What a priest expects from his people………
I want you to realize that I am a priest of a Master who came’ not to be served but to serve” Iam ordained to serve, simply and without qualification.” My Priestly anointing, just your baptism and mine, is above all a challenge. It is my humble task to bring God to you. I realize that to do this I must change my own inner reality into Christ. I know that I am among you to serve; yet I sense the daily temptations to sink into the comforts and conveniences of those who are served. I know that duty is to teach; yet I fear that my teaching may remain words unsupported by my life. I realize that the loneliness, inseparable from any one walks a solitary way, can lead me to childish self-absorption. I know that the short – sighted enthusiasms of the moment can blind me to the fullness of your claims on me
I realize that the loneliness, inseparable from any one walks a solitary way, can lead me to childish self-absorption. I know that the short – sighted enthusiasms of the moment can blind me to the fullness of your claims on me. I know as your pastor I can be tired and snappish, and very easily disguise the compassion of Christ. I know that I can be ready to accuse without understanding, to judge without knowledge, to be indifferent when you need me most. I acknowledge, then, I am a poor, weak man whom God has called to be your priest, and who must now become engaged in the life time process of becoming a PRIEST. My prayer, therefore ,is twofold. First it is a powerful prayer of thanksgiving to my parents, relatives, and friends and all of you have helped me to the altar of Christ. My vocation to the priesthood was nourished , supported and strengthened in your warmth and sacrificial love of a Christian atmosphere. For this I thank you. Secondly, I beg that your understanding, your patience, your forbearance – the same charity that has seen me this far will accompany my stumbling efforts to help you to draw closer to God. Come then together that we may forge in each other a recognizable image of that which we celebrate daily on the altar “ Jesus our Bread of Life”.
IT MATTERS IN LIFE…………..
• Valuing a person is not merely seeing each other every day. What counts most is that somehow in our busy life, we remember each other even just by saying, “Take care.”
• Challenges come not only to change but to charge you to succeed in a time frame. Have a concept and lead the way. It’s only a matter of time. You will be the talk of the world.
• A beautiful relation does not depend on how well an understanding we have with someone. It depends on how well we avoid misunderstanding.
• You can win life by all means if you simply avoid two things in your life: comparing with others and expecting from others.
• Never rush in love for it never runs out. Let love be the one to knock at your door, so by the time you start to fall, you know that your feeling is for sure.
• Always take care of three things in your life: trust, promise and relation, because they don’t make noise when they break.
• It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good too checkup once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money cannot buy!
Sent by Fr. Bala Rajendram
Vatican conference highlights role of laity in addressing modern challenges
By Elise Harris
Leading lay experts and top Vatican officials have joined forces this week to talk about how they can collaborate in addressing key areas of modern concern, placing a special emphasis on the role of laypeople. “Even before the (Second) Vatican Council, the conviction of the Church was that lay involvement in certain spheres of life, particularly political and social, was absolutely indispensable,” Archbishop Paul Gallagher told CNA Dec. 11. The importance of the laity “is quite clear even more today,” he said, explaining that without their activity and social and political advocacy, the Church would lose its voice. “It is absolutely key, crucial, for the future of the Church’s engagement with society that laypeople should be prepared to do this, should be courageous in doing it, and should have this great will to bring the voice of Christ now in the political sphere and social sphere, on a local level and an international level,” he said. “I think they can do a great service to the Church and to the world in this way,” he said, adding that “any form of engagement” is encouraged. Msgr. Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, spoke before celebrating Mass on the opening night of a Dec. 11-13 conference organized by the Forum of Catholic-inspired NGOs, titled “Promoters of Humanity in a Transforming World.” The conference, which drew a slew of representatives from various NGOs around the world, including nonCatholics, focused on how Catholic-inspired organizations can help safeguard core values such as family and religious freedom, and ensure the that a proper integral human development is achieved in the context of a rapidly changing global society. In his speech for the conference, Gallagher said the Holy See and Catholic-inspired NGOs can work together to achieve “the ideal of human fraternity and a means for its greater realization.” He stressed that the Holy See isn’t “controlling” the forum, but that rather, the members and leaders of the NGOs are the real protagonists, since they bring “real life experiences and expertise” to the table through their work. Among those “protagonists” present for the conference was Helen Alvare, a professor of family law, law and religion, and property law at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University. She is also the cofounder of the “Women Speak for Themselves” organization, the president of “Reconnect Media” nonprofit communications group, and an adviser to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In comments to CNA, Alvare also stressed the importance of the role of laity, specifically women and the poor, in advocating key issues in the Church, especially in regards to the family. Through the organizations she is involved with, Alvare focuses on giving voice to people on the grassroots level and empowering them to have a greater role in the push for both religious freedom and the family values lost in the sexual revolution. The hope is to show that questions on sexuality “cannot be separated from issues about economic well-being and poverty and human happiness.” Pope Francis has been a leading voice advocating for women and the poor, Alvare said. However, while the Pope has set “a wonderful tone” on these issues, she believes that “one of the signs of the times is that it cannot come from top down in the Church.” “No matter how lovely a tone Pope Francis sets on empowering women and the poor, when the subject matter turns to sex, marriage and parenting, the powers that be don’t want to hear from him or the Church in any level,” she said. Rather, the argument needs to come from those who have supposedly been empowered by the sexual revolution – laity, and especially lay women. When the Church hierarchy joins forces with laity and religious on the ground, they can have a powerful effect, Alvare said, and this includes reaching the people taken in by the agenda of the sexual revolution.
Speaking of the partnership the Holy See can have with NGOs and the people who run them, Gallagher in his speech highlighted several key areas of collaboration, the first being to advance the 2030 sustainable development goals, which Pope Francis has called “an important sign of hope” and which in large part are aimed at ending poverty, protecting the environment, and promoting education. He also pointed to the issues of forced migration and displacement resulting in “unprecedented population shifts,” giving specific mention to the 2018 U.N. global compacts on migration and refugees. Other major areas of concern, he said, are climate change and the promotion of an integral human ecology; the freedom of thought, conscience and religion, which includes concern for religious discrimination and persecution; and freedom of expression, as well as the freedom to convert. While the global landscape in light of these issues might seem “immense and complex,” Gallagher said it is also promising, because the efforts that appear to be small are capable of “developing and achieving ends for the benefit of the common good of all.” In a brief Q&A after his talk, Gallagher encouraged members of NGOs to be active and involved in the debate on relevant issues in their competence, keeping the papal representatives in the loop on the discussion and seeking advice or input from the Holy See when needed. “Part of the thing about autonomy, is one shouldn’t be waiting for instructions,” he said. “It’s about working together, its about collaborative ministry together,” he said, adding that it’s not about “a voice coming from on high saying, ‘Do a,b,c’.” Responding to a question on his advice for Catholic doctors and medical personnel who work with Catholic-inspired medical organizations, Gallagher said the most important traits needed today are “great courage and sacrifice.” Part of this courage also means exercising the right to follow their conscience. “We expect you to assert the rights of your conscience and that of your more vulnerable colleagues,” he said, adding that the role of the conscience for those working in the medical field right now “is absolutely fundamental. Taken From : Catholic News Agency
AN APPRECIATION OF LATE FR. MICHEAL RODRIGOPULLE
FR. MIKE OF BUTTALA LIVES ON ………………………. CONTINES TO INSPIRE
Bishop Vianney Fernando, a couple of days after the demise of Fr. Mike, had this to say: “I knew Fr. Mike since I was a young seminarian. Having just re-turned after his doctoral studies from overseas he was assigned to teach Psychology at the National Seminary. I happened to be among the first group of seminarians he taught. We loved his lectures. He was an excel-lent teacher, an intense person in whatever he did…. In the aftermath of the liturgical renewal launched by Vatican II, Fr. Mike spearheaded in Sri Lanka the implementation of the Conciliar reforms in liturgy. He re-sponded with vigour and zest to the needs of the day as he perceived it. “When my predecessor, Bish-op Leo Nanayakkara took over the newly carved out Diocese of Uva, Fr. Mike followed him. A new awareness was coming upon him. Preferential option for the poor began to be recognized as an integral part of the task of evan-gelization. Fr. Mike again responded with zest and zeal, and profound faith. He opted out from his teaching career to be with the poor, entering into a dialogue of life with the poor peasants. “He opted to be with them to support them in their struggles. Above all, he understood the deep-est meaning of his ministerial priesthood as taking on the “SER-VANTHOOD OF THE KINGDOM”, following his Master and Saviour Jesus Christ. When threatened by forces that militate against such an option he carried on undaunted. Fi-nally, he was brutally murdered.” Thank you Fr. Mike, for bringing light and life to us and to our fami-lies, nay to our whole village. As you have enlightened and inspired us thus far, may your spirit continue to live on among us. I salute you with deep respect and gratitude!
BY : (Maduri) Sr. Milburga Fernando (The Sunday Times )
BIBLE AND CHRISTIAN LIFE
There is no other book that is widely read and translated as the Bible. It has been translated fully or in part into 2508 languages. It was the first book to be printed in Guttenberg in 1454. It is said that throughout the world 47 copies of the Bible are sold every minute of the day. ‘Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single deposit of the Word of God.’ We as Roman Catholics are called upon to show ‘equal feelings of devotion and reverence’ to both Scriptures and the Tradition (cf. DV 9-10). Bible, the written Word of God is a fundamental source and guide for Christian life. Our approach to the bible is very important. Christianity is not a religion of the book as in other religions. Christianity is a religion of a person – Jesus Christ. Our spirituality depends on our relationship to him. Our spirituality is a growth in the life with Jesus Christ. Bible is a major source to help us in this growth. The whole bible revolves around this fact. The fact is that from the beginning the bible prepares the People of God for the coming of the Messiah (OT) and speaks of the fulfilment of the OT in Jesus Christ and how the new People of God – the Church was born (NT). Jesus Christ is the focal point of the whole bible.
BIBLE CONTAINS SALVIFIC TRUTHS
Throughout the history people took the bible to mean so many things, such as science book, etc., and the world faced the consequences. Today we have come to the proper understanding that the bible contains all that God wanted to be written down for the salvation of his people (cf. 2 Tim 3,14-17; DV 11). All that are said in the bible need not agree with modern scientific discoveries, logical accuracy and plain historical facts. Whatever is said in the bible has a salvific truth behind intended by God through the biblical author. What is important is not to find out the accuracy of the details but to ask what God wanted his people to understand at that time and what He wants me to understand today.
AN ANCIENT BOOK FOR THE MODERN MAN
What we have in the bible is what took place 2000 to 4000 years or more ago. How can this ancient book that has been in wider circulation and used by so many be valid today? Are not the things said there outdated? The times have changed; the context is different; the way we look at is no more the same. So many books and programmes are being updated regularly – but not the bible. Modern scholarship throws light to understand better the biblical texts; helps us to have more background material to understand the ancient events, yet we have not exhausted the salvific truths behind the bible. The salvific truths revealed by God never change, they are valid for all times.
BOOK OF LIFE
The main purpose of the bible is to make us live the Word to be saved. It is not a book merely to be worshipped, adored or argued with. It is the book of life for the believer. If one wants to be saved that person needs to live the message of the bible. This is possible only in entering into a living relationship with the Word – Jesus Christ. We give a special place to the bible because it enhances us to enter into this relationship.
In Jer 15,16; Ez 2,8 – 3,3 and Rev 10,8-10 God calls the recipient not merely to take the Word but to eat it. It tastes sweet in the mouth. But the truth revealed is not always sweet, at times bitter in the stomach. Whatever the case be the Word must take flesh in us; it should become part and parcel of my life. I need to experience it before I proclaim it. The Word is bitter because on the one side it points to my sinfulness and on the other it reveals one of the most beautiful biblical truths. The truth is that it calls for suffering – it is participation in the ‘passion of God’ for humanity. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son (cf. Jn 3,16). Jesus so loved us that he gave his life as ransom to save us. When the Word become our life, suffering for the God and our brothers and sisters become a loving reality. The saints are good examples of this truth. The Word if we receive it into our life creates us anew and it invites us to be in it and compels us to respond to its call – to be doers of the Word (cf. Jas 1,18-25; 1 Pet 1,23-2,2; Rom 2,13; Mt 7,24ff). Mary becomes the model in this process (cf. Lk 11,28).
LECTIO DIVINA, A WAY TO INTERIORIZE THE SCRIPTURES
The prayerful reading is fundamental for the spiritual growth of every Christian. Lectio Divina is an ancient, yet meaningful method used in the Church for this purpose. The post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation – Verbum Domini proposes a four step fundamental procedure of Lectio Divina: lectio, meditatio, oratio and contemplatio. It proposes the questions we need to keep at the back of our minds as we enter into these four steps: for lectio – ‘what does the biblical text say in itself?’, for meditatio – ‘what does the biblical text say to us?’, for oratio – ‘what do we say to the Lord in response to his word?’ and for contemplatio – ‘what conversion of mind, heart and life is the Lord asking of us?’ Then the document adds to say that this process is not complete until it arrives at actio – the action of the believer to be a sacrament to the world (cf. VD 87). Once again Mary our Mother is the model who kept the word in the heart and acted upon it (cf. Lk 2,19.51; VD 124). This is not merely an individualistic way of reading the Bible. The Bible has to be read in the community of the Church. The word came to the community, founded the Church, came into existence in the Church, sustains the Church and is interpreted in the context of the Church (cf. VD 86).
‘Ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ’ (‘ignorantia Scripturarum ignorantia Christi est’) says St. Jerome. To know Christ Scripture is a must. Therefore, each Christian must possess a Bible, which guides his life. He must read it. He must follow the Lectio Divina. He must celebrate the Word in the Liturgy. Liturgy becomes meaningful when the person listens to the Word of God. To identify Christ in the Sacraments, to encounter him one should listen to the Word. That is why the first part of all the Sacraments is the Liturgy of the Word. Emmaus Journey is an example for this (cf. Lk 24). The Word helps us to recognize the Lord in the Sacrament. If our Liturgy is ‘meaningless’, it is because the celebration of the Word is weak. Since the Bible leads us to God we give a special place of reverence to it. The modern world needs to see God. It yearns to experience the divine. We can become sacraments of the divine power in the world if the Word becomes the centre of our lives. If so we can participate in the experience of John which makes our joy complete: we heard the word, experienced the word and testify to the word (cf. 1 Jn 1,1-4).
By: Rev. Fr. Alvin Peter Fernando
Pope’s message for 2018 World Day of Peace
MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES: MEN AND WOMEN IN SEARCH OF PEACE
1. Heartfelt good wishes for peace Peace to all people and to all nations on earth! Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night, is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence. Among these whom I constantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention the over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees. Pope Benedict XVI, my beloved predecessor, spoke of them as “men and women, children, young and elderly people, who are searching for somewhere to live in peace.” In order to find that peace, they are willing to risk their lives on a journey that is often long and perilous, to endure hardships and suffering, and to encounter fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal. In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands. We know that it is not enough to open our hearts to the suffering of others. Much more remains to be done before our brothers and sisters can once again live peacefully in a safe home. Welcoming others requires concrete commitment, a network of assistance and goodwill, vigilant and sympathetic attention, the responsible management of new and complex situations that at times compound numerous existing problems, to say nothing of resources, which are always limited. By practising the virtue of prudence, government leaders should take practical measures to welcome, promote, protect, integrate and, “within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good, to permit [them] to become part of a new society.” Leaders have a clear responsibility towards their own communities, whose legitimate rights and harmonious development they must ensure, lest they become like the rash builder who miscalculated and failed to complete the tower he had begun to construct.
2. Why so many refugees and migrants? As he looked to the Great Jubilee marking the passage of two thousand years since the proclamation of peace by the angels in Bethlehem, Saint John Paul II pointed to the increased numbers of displaced persons as one of the consequences of the “endless and horrifying sequence of wars, conflicts, genocides and ethnic cleansings” that had characterized the twentieth century. To this date, the new century has registered no real breakthrough: armed conflicts and other forms of organized violence continue to trigger the movement of peoples within national borders and beyond. Yet people migrate for other reasons as well, principally because they “desire a better life, and not infrequently try to leave behind the ‘hopelessness’ of an unpromising future.” They set out to join their families or to seek professional or educational opportunities, for those who cannot enjoy these rights do not live in peace. Furthermore, as I noted in the Encyclical Laudato Si’, there has been “a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation”. Most people migrate through regular channels. Some, however, take different routes, mainly out of desperation, when their own countries offer neither safety nor opportunity, and every legal pathway appears impractical, blocked or too slow. Many destination countries have seen the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals, and by doing so demeans the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God. Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being. All indicators available to the international community suggest that global migration will continue for the future. Some consider this a threat. For my part, I ask you to view it with confidence as an opportunity to build peace.
3. With a contemplative gaze The wisdom of faith fosters a contemplative gaze that recognizes that all of us “belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth, whose destination is universal, as the social doctrine of the Church teaches. It is here that solidarity and sharing are founded.” These words evoke the biblical image of the new Jerusalem. The book of the prophet Isaiah (chapter 60) and that of Revelation (chapter 21) describe the city with its gates always open to people of every nation, who marvel at it and fill it with riches. Peace is the sovereign that guides it and justice the principle that governs coexistence within it. We must also turn this contemplative gaze to the cities where we live, “a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their houses, in their streets and squares, […] fostering solidarity, fraternity, and the desire for goodness, truth and justice” – in other words, fulfilling the promise of peace. When we turn that gaze to migrants and refugees, we discover that they do not arrive empty-handed. They bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them.
We also come to see the creativity, tenacity and spirit of sacrifice of the countless individuals, families and communities around the world who open their doors and hearts to migrants and refugees, even where resources are scarce. A contemplative gaze should also guide the discernment of those responsible for the public good, and encourage them to pursue policies of welcome, “within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good” – bearing in mind, that is, the needs of all members of the human family and the welfare of each. Those who see things in this way will be able to recognize the seeds of peace that are already sprouting and nurture their growth. Our cities, often divided and polarized by conflicts regarding the presence of migrants and refugees, will thus turn into workshops of peace.
4. Four mileposts for action Offering asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking an opportunity to find the peace they seek requires a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating. “Welcoming” calls for expanding legal pathways for entry and no longer pushing migrants and displaced people towards countries where they face persecution and violence. It also demands balancing our concerns about national security with concern for fundamental human rights. Scripture reminds us: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” “Protecting” has to do with our duty to recognize and defend the inviolable dignity of those who flee real dangers in search of asylum and security, and to prevent their being exploited. I think in particular of women and children who find themselves in situations that expose them to risks and abuses that can even amount to enslavement. God does not discriminate: “The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the orphan and the widow.” “Promoting” entails supporting the integral human development of migrants and refugees. Among many possible means of doing so, I would stress the importance of ensuring access to all levels of education for children and young people. This will enable them not only to cultivate and realize their potential, but also better equip them to encounter others and to foster a spirit of dialogue rather than rejection or confrontation. The Bible teaches that God “loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” “Integrating”, lastly, means allowing refugees and migrants to participate fully in the life of the society that welcomes them, as part of a process of mutual enrichment and fruitful cooperation in service of the integral human development of the local community. Saint Paul expresses it in these words: “You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people.” 5. A proposal for two international compacts It is my heartfelt hope this spirit will guide the process that in the course of 2018 will lead the United Nations to draft and approve two Global Compacts, one for safe, orderly and regular migration and the other for refugees. As shared agreements at a global level, these compacts will provide a framework for policy proposals and practical measures. Only in this way can the realism required of international politics avoid surrendering to cynicism and to the globalization of indifference. Dialogue and coordination are a necessity and a specific duty for the international community. Beyond national borders, higher numbers of refugees may be welcomed – or better welcomed – also by less wealthy countries, if international cooperation guarantees them the necessary funding. The Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has published a set of twenty action points that provide concrete leads for implementing these four verbs in public policy and in the attitudes and activities of Christian communities. The aim of this and other contributions is to express the interest of the Catholic Church in the process leading to the adoption of the two U.N. Global Compacts. This interest is the sign of a more general pastoral concern that goes back to very origins of Church and has continued in her many works up to the present time.
6. For our common home Let us draw inspiration from the words of Saint John Paul II: “If the ‘dream’ of a peaceful world is shared by all, if the refugees’ and migrants’ contribution is properly evaluated, then humanity can become more and more a universal family and our earth a true ‘common home’.” Throughout history, many have believed in this “dream”, and their achievements are a testament to the fact that it is no mere utopia. Among these, we remember Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini in this year that marks the hundredth anniversary of her death. On this thirteenth day of November, many ecclesial communities celebrate her memory. This remarkable woman, who devoted her life to the service of migrants and became their patron saint, taught us to welcome, protect, promote and integrate our brothers and sisters. Through her intercession, may the Lord enable all of us to experience that “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” From the Vatican, 13 November 2017 Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrin Patroness of Migrants
Taken From : WWW. Zenith.com
Birthdays and Anniversaries
02nd – Tue – Rev. Fr. Gabriel Gunasekaran
04th – Thu – Rev. Fr. Malith Prasad
06th – Sat – Rev. Fr. Locksley Peiris
13th – Sat – Rev. Fr. Prasanna Warnakulasuriya
16th – Tue – Rev. Fr. Anton Gavaskaer – Rev. Bro. Lionel Perera, OSB
17th – Wed – Rev. Fr. Lalith Thushara Amerasinghe
20th – Sat – Rev. Fr. Nilanka Dias
21st – Sun – Rev. Fr. Timothy Gnanapragasam
11th – Thu – Rev. Fr. D. Soosainathan, OSB
15th – Mon – Rev. Fr. Niroshana de Zoysa
– Rev. Fr. Gabriel Gunasekaran
19th – Fri – Rev. Fr. Roy Clarence
– Rev. Fr. Nilanka Dias
– Rev. Fr. Christy Paul
20th – Sat – Rev. Fr. John Winston
26th – Fri – Rev. Fr. Valentine Ekanayake, OSB
07th – Sun – Rev. Fr. Anselm Weerasinghe, OSB
08th – Mon – Rev. Fr. T. D. Manuel
11th – Thu – Rev. Fr. Marius Fernandez, OSB
19th – Fri – Rev. Fr. Joseph Rodrigo
20th – Sat – Rev. Fr. Gregory Pheobus, OSB
22nd – Mon – Rev. Fr. F. M. Gunatillake