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Family is first school of communication

As early as January 23, Pope Francis issued his message for World Communications Day which is marked this Sunday which is also the Feast of the Ascension. Entitled,  Communicating the Family, the message is succinct and down-to-earth.

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Celebrating our mothers and Our Mother

Once again people in many parts of the world will celebrate Mothers’ Day today. You do not have to remember the date. The media, the shopping malls, businesses remind us with their advertisements touting the different ways to celebrate this day. Expensive gifts and grand banquets are common ways to mark this day dedicated to mothers. 

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Changing bad habits

Although we are more than half way through Lent, we still need to continue to pray, fast, act charitably and repent. On March 5, Pope Francis told a general audience: “We all need to improve, to change for the better. Lent helps us and thus we leave behind old habits….” 

If we can get rid of these habits, we can “look with new eyes at our brothers and sisters and their needs”. In this way, we can see what the signs of the times are saying.

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Greater recognition for role of women

Pope Francis’ universal prayer intention for March is, “That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.” This makes us wonder if today’s society has really achieved mutual complementarity and mutual respect between men and women or not. Do women now enjoy equal opportunity of participation and share in social achievements in the actualisation of their social role? Are they free to speak out in fighting for their own rights?

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Upholding the truth

EVERY FRIDAY DURING Lent, parishes in Hong Kong observe the way of the cross. One of the aims is to learn from the suffering Christ the spirit of loving to the end. It also gives an insight into his unfailing resistance to evil and helps people to unite with him in their daily lives.

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If you can think about fasting you are lucky

“DON’T FORGET TO fast in Lent.” This is a well known catchphrase among Catholics in the lead up to Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of what is recognised as a 40-day period of fast.

More often observed by people trying to give something up for Lent, it can become a struggle of mind over matter in the effort to avoid eating or drinking a favourite delicacy for the long period of time.

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Live dialogue don’t just do it

THE FIRST WEEK of February is designated by the United Nations (UN) as World Interfaith Harmony Week. It was created in 2010 “to encourage all states to support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship on the foundational teaching of the love of God and love of neighbour.”

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An ambivalence that affects everyone

HONG KONG HAS achieved worldwide notoriety over the abused Indonesian migrant worker, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, as the injuries inflicted by her employer are so horrific she has attracted international interest.

However, while widespread publicity is usually welcome, this time Hong Kong is not being portrayed as a desirable tourist destination, shopping or investment paradise, or safe place to visit, leaving the government embarrassed and scrambling to be seen to be doing something to address the issue.

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Moral vernacular of the public square

While hearing a pope talk about deformed pickles, hot potatoes and sourpusses may at least be worth a chuckle, it can also be worth a hearty nod of approval.

In fact, over and above that, it may also be worth asking exactly what the pope is on about and whether he is at something deeper than a prime minister describing the senate house as unrepresentative swill simply to catch a headline.

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Lunar New Year and Christian Unity

The Lunar New Year and the ecumenical movement have one thing in common; they both offer an opportunity to people who share a profound interest in the same bonding ring to patch up frays in the rope that binds them, reach out across gaps that may divide and be reconciled over upset apple carts.

The Lunar New Year is a cultural recognition of the damage that divided families do to the fabric of society and all cultures have festivals that place the family at the centre of attention.