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Around the Traps
Loved missionary vanished
NIAMEY (SE): Fifty-five-year-old Jeff Woodke, an American missionary who has worked with literacy, agriculture and other development projects in Abalak, Niger, has been missing since he was abducted four months ago.
World Watch Monitor reported on February 28 that Woodke worked for Youth with a Mission and the mayor of Abalak described local people as weeping with sorrow and lamenting the loss of a friend.
“This man has lived among us for years, even when it has been difficult to accompany vulnerable populations… Everyone knows his goodness,” the mayor said.
War memorial vandalised by Catholic Worker group
BRISBANE (CWN): A group from the Catholic Worker movement vandalised a cross in the Brisbane suburb of Toowong in Australia on Ash Wednesday, March 1.
The Cross of Sacrifice was dedicated in 1924 in honour of Australian soldiers who died in war.
“We come here today to repent all wars blessed by the Christian Churches,” Jim Dowling, the group leader, said. “We come to remove the sword from the cross on which our saviour was crucified.”
The archdiocese of Brisbane disassociated the Church from the incident, saying, “These sites should be treated with the utmost respect.”
Pope to South Sudan?
VATICAN (SE): “I’m studying, my colleagues are studying, the possibility of a trip to South Sudan,” Pope Francis said at an Anglican church in Rome on February 26.
Pope Francis told the gathering that he is concretely thinking of visiting South Sudan which is scourged by war and great famine affecting almost half of the population.
He said that all the bishops of South Sudan, Anglican, Presbyterian and Catholic, had asked him, “Please, come to South Sudan, only for a day, but don’t come alone, come with the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, (Archbishop) Justin Welby.”
Vatican Radio runs against the tide
VATICAN (SE): An era ends for Vatican Radio as it closes its short-wave transmissions at a time when other broadcasters are stepping up theirs.
Monsignor Dario Vigano, the prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, has cut the long-time heart out of Vatican Radio to reduce costs and concentrate on the Internet.
The British Broadcasting Corporation has invested US$105 million ($813.75 million) in a drive to expand its short-wave capacity, while Japan’s NHK network is interested in purchasing the Santa Maria di Galeria, a transmission point that Vatican Radio will no longer use.
Clericus Cup kicks off
ROME (SE): The annual soccer tournament for priests and seminarians in Rome, called the Clericus Cup, kicked off on March 4.
Eighteen teams are participating from the pontifical colleges and other Roman institutions.
Maria Mater Ecclesiae is the defending champion in the competition, which was premiered in 2007.
The Brazilian College is this year’s favourite. Its team includes a goalkeeper who, before entering the seminary, played under the current manager of the Italian national squad.
Step towards sainthood for Archbishop Romero
SAN SALVADOR (CWN): The decades-long vigil of prayer for the canonisation of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was murdered by government forces while celebrating Mass in 1980, may be paying off with claims of a miracle attributed to his intercession having been forwarded to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
If proven, it could push him over the line from blessed to sainthood.
The miracle involves the healing of a Cecilia Maribel Flores. Archbishop Romero was beatified by Pope Francis in 2015.
Click To Pray
ROME (SE): Some 400,000 people are using the Click To Pray app run by the pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, the Apostleship of Prayer. It feeds short prayers to around 400,000 people three times per day.
The app accompanies users throughout the day, connecting them with thousands of people who find a purpose in daily prayer for the challenges of humanity and the mission of the Church.
It also makes provision to share prayer intentions for everyone to pray about.
The app was developed in Portugal in 2014 and is now available in English, Portuguese, Spanish and French.
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