December 2015

Mercy is the foundation of peace
(Saturday, 2 January 2016 )

It is 50 years since the closing of the Second Vatican Council and it is fitting to remember the landmark encyclical penned by Pope Paul VI, The Progress of Peoples (Populorum Progressio) two years later. Pope Paul wrote the immortal words, “Development, the new name for peace.”

Today, these words have an even deeper...

Searching for the light of Christmas
(Saturday, 2 January 2016 )

HONG KONG (SE): A longing for peace, security and the freedom to be ourselves dominated messages from religious and world leaders in the run up to Christmas in 2015, with the bishop of Hong Kong, John Cardinal Tong Hon, saying in his message to the city that peace is becoming more tenuous and seems to be moving beyond the stretch of our fingers.

He spoke of challenges to what he called the core value of the family...

Manila pushes to beatify American Jesuit
(Saturday, 2 January 2016 )

MANILA (UCAN): The Manila archdiocese has officially opened the process for the beatification and canonisation of Father George Willman, a Jesuit from the United States of America (US), who is credited with building up the presence of the Knights of Columbus in The Philippines during the last century.

Luis Cardinal Tagle accepted the nomination for the beatification of Father Willman during a Mass celebrated on...

Migrants and elephants are threatened species
(Saturday, 2 January 2016 )

HONG KONG (SE): What do migrants and elephants have in common? Well, apart from sharing December 18 as a day to draw attention to their situation, both are regarded as beasts of burden and both are threatened species, as they face constant hazards.

Both International Migrants Day and Save the Elephants Day are marked on the same date, but while the population of the elephant species has dwindled to around 35,000 to...

The search for shelter is part of Christmas
(Saturday, 2 January 2016 )

MANILA (UCAN): Some 300 children from the sprawling slum areas of Manila marched to the beat of Christmas carols in a reenactment of the search made by Joseph and Mary to find shelter prior to the birth of Jesus on December 18.

“We see this event in the light of the urban poor children’s search for home, peace and a decent life,” Tina Jurado, a community organiser with the Urban Poor Associates,...

A prize for the pope
(Saturday, 2 January 2016 )

BERLIN (Agencies): Pope Francis has been named the 2016 recipient of the International Charlemagne Prize for bringing a message of hope and encouragement to Europe at a time of uncertainty, The Associated Press reported.

The Charlemagne Prize has been awarded annually since 1950 by donors in Aachen, Germany, and is given for distinguished...

To the city of Rome and the world
(Saturday, 2 January 2016 )

VATICAN (SE): “Let us open our hearts to receive the grace of this day, which is Christ himself,” Pope Francis said in the traditional Urbi et Orbi (To the City and the World) papal Christmas blessing, delivered from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome at midday on Christmas Day.

He called it a radiant day...

A bloody Christmas crusade
(Saturday, 2 January 2016 )

COTABATO (UCAN): Seven farmers were slaughtered on Christmas Eve in Sultan Kudarat province, Maguindanao, during what the military described as coordinated attacks on small communities.

The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a group that had declared an alliance with the Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Four of the Freedom Fighters are believed to...

How might God contemplate China? – a prayer
(Saturday, 2 January 2016 )

In his farewell letter, written before he and six brother monks were martyred in 1996, Christian de Chergé, the abbot of the Cistercian Monastery of Tibhirine said:

This is what I shall be able to do, if God wills— 

immerse my gaze in that of the Father, 


Pope talks of a practical Christian humanism
(Saturday, 2 January 2016 )

FLORENCE (SE): Pope Francis received a meal coupon and a plastic plate from the staff at the Caritas St. Francis Soup Kitchen in Florence, Italy, as he left the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore after speaking to 2,500 delegates at a gathering sponsored by the Italian Bishops’ Conference on what he called practical Christian humanism on November 10 last year.

He then proceeded to collect his lunch ration and...