December 2017

Episcopal blast from the past
(Saturday, 23 December 2017 )

NAHA (UCAN): The diocese of Naha on the tropical island of Okinawa produced a blast from the past when 63-year-old Father Wayne Berndt was appointed as the first foreign bishop in Japan since 1941.
 
Okinawa has long been the domain of the Capuchin Friars from the United States of America (US) and Father Brendt came to Naha as a seminarian in 1981, just two years before his ordination to the priesthood.
 
However, Okinawa has a unique history. As part of the...

International importance of Church in China
(Saturday, 23 December 2017 )

HONG KONG (SE): The celebration of Christmas in China has gained popularity as its consumer society has taken off, but while it may be more of a commercial affair, Christians use its popularity to point people towards Christ.
 
Brent Fulton, from ChinaSource, says that in churches, rented banquet rooms and even on university campuses, carefully planned celebrations clearly present the gospel.
 
This is in stark contrast to two decades ago.
...

Around the Traps
(Saturday, 23 December 2017 )

 
Pope meets with Palestinian leaders
VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis met with a delegation from the Permanent Committee for Dialogue with Religious Figures in Palestine on the morning of December 6. The pope told the delegation, “The Holy Land is for us as Christians the land par excellence of dialogue between God and mankind. The culmination of that dialogue that took place in Nazareth between the Angel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary, an event to which the...

Liturgical translations back in the spotlight
(Saturday, 23 December 2017 )

ROME (SE): Liturgical translations have long been a matter of much discussion, disappointment and straight out disagreement, but this time it is Pope Francis drawing attention to the resonant petition prayer of the whole of the Christian world, the Our Father or The Lord’s Prayer.
 
In an interview aired by TV2000 in Rome, Pope Francis has questioned the age old translation of “lead us not into temptation.”
 ...

Christmas may be huge in China but what’s in it for religion?
(Saturday, 23 December 2017 )

BEIJING (SE): “Santa Claus was descending into China from the sky. Due to the heavy smog, he fell to the ground, but no one dared help him up. While he was still lying in the snow, his bag was ransacked for the Christmas goodies and his reindeer and sleigh taken away by the Chengguan (City Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau). Therefore, there will be no Christmas this year!”
 
Robert Foyle Hunwick says in an article published in The Atlantic...

Christmas and the environment
(Saturday, 23 December 2017 )

It is ironic and contradictory that the feast of Christmas at which we celebrate the birth of Christ, has become the biggest shopping event right around the world.
 
St. Luke tells us that in response to the decree of Caesar Augustus for a census of the whole world to be taken, Joseph and his pregnant wife, Mary, set out for his ancestral city Bethlehem in order to be registered.
 
“While they were there the time came for her for have...

… of gifts and strangers
(Saturday, 23 December 2017 )

In the week before Christmas I always delay buying presents. I find it a difficult time because I am not gifted with the imagination needed to buy truly personal, simple and endearing presents.
 
If I had my way, I would buy everyone a gift voucher, but I appreciate that is hardly the spirit of gift-giving. 
 
Then there is always someone for whom it is difficult to buy, because they don’t seem to need anything.
 ...

Tops for the decorative but missing the big prize
(Saturday, 23 December 2017 )

HONG KONG (SE): In what has become known as the Christmas Village of China the climbing mercury and the sizzling earth of high summer signals the height of the peak season for Santa hats, tinsel and LED-lit Christmas trees.
 
Located a little over an hour away from Shanghai by bullet train in the province of Zhejiang, Yiwu is an inland city of around 1.2 million people and is recognised as producing nearly two-thirds of all the decorations that give the Christmassy feel to...

Nazareth cancels Christmas
(Saturday, 23 December 2017 )

Nazareth (SE): The mayor of Nazareth, Ali Salam, announced on December 14 that all Christmas celebrations in the hometown of Jesus Christ have been cancelled in response to the announcement by the president of the United States of America (US), Donald Trump, that he intends to move his embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively recognising it as the capital city of the land.
 
Fox News reported that just like the original Christmas, Jesus’ birth...

Christmas message and greeting from our bishop
(Saturday, 23 December 2017 )

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
 
 
Christmas is a celebration of life and family. The greatest gift God has given us is His own life, in the form of His son, who accepted a human body and was born into a family.
 
In the mystery of the Incarnation is revealed how the Almighty Creator came into our midst like a lonely helpless person, knocking on the door of Mary and Joseph.
 
Luckily He was...