Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A List of Patron Saints



These were found in an old book of patron saints.


Cause or Patronage                  Name                                     Feast Day

Abused children                      St. Germaine Cousin             June 15
Actors                                      St. Ardalion                            April 14
                                                 St. Genesius the Comedien    August 25
Blind people                             St. Laurece the Illuminator   February 3
Book Lovers                             St. Aldhelm                           May 25
Booksellers                             Bl. James Duckett                 April 19
Breast Cancer                          St. Aldegund                          January 30
Cancer Sufferers                      St. Peregrine Laziosi             May 1
Catholic schools                       St. John Baptist de la Salle   April 7
Converting Muslims                Bl. Andrew Hiberon              April 18
Cooks                                     Bl. Eustochium of Padua        February 13
                                               St. Lawrence of Rome            August 10
Extreme Suffering                  Bl. Lydovina of Schiedam      April 14
Friends of the Holy Souls      St. Adelaide                             June 15
in Purgatory                            St. Catherine of Genoa           September 15
                                                Bl.  Mary of Providence         February 7
                                                St. John Vianney                     August 4
Gardeners                                St. Bandaridus                      August 9
                                                 St. Jonas                               February 11
                                                 St. Phocas the Gardener       July 23
Headaches                              St. Gerald of Sauve-Majeune April 5
                                                St. Ulric of Cluny                  July 14
Journalists                               St. Francis de Sales               January 24
Lawyers                                   St. Liphardus                        June 3
Mathematicians                        St. Anatolius                         July 3
Orphaned and abandoned        St. Jerome Emiliani              July 20
children
                                                 Bl. Margaret Cittadi Castello April 14
People with bad tempers         St. Jerome                              September 30
                                                Bl. John Colombini              July 31
Peru                                         St. Francis Solano                July 14
                                                 Bl. John de Massias             September 18
                                                 St. Martin de Porres             November 3
                                                 St. Rosa de Lima                  August 23
Rogation Days                        St. Mamertas                        May 11
                                                 St. Sidonius Apollinaris       August 23
Sacred Will of God                 Bl. James Gerius                   August 5
Sense of humor                       St. Athanasius                       May 2
Students                                    St. Joseph Calasanctius        August 27
                                                Bl. Louis Mary Palazzolo      May 1
Students and Teachers            Sts. Laurence of Nuvara
                                                and Companions                    April 30
Sweet Tempers                       St. Gerard of Brogne              October 3
Toothaches                               St. Apollonia                         February 9
Twins                                      Sts. Cosmos and Damian      September 27
                                                Sts. John and Benignus         July 21

Women of ill-repute                 St. John Eudes                      August 19
Workers                                   Bl. Leonard Muraldo             April 30







                                                 





Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Learning to Meditate on the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary



The Holy Rosary is a beautiful way to honor our Lady but it may not be the easiest devotion to do correctly in order to enrich our spiritual life.

It is easy to fall into the trap of just speeding through the Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glory Bes just to be able to say we said our daily rosary.  However, if we do that we are cheating ourselves out of the richness of what the Holy Rosary really is....Mary's Family Album.  Father Eric Bowman, a priest in Ohio and a friend, described the Holy Rosary in such a manner.  He pictured himself next the the Blessed Mother and she would show him the photos of the life of her Son, Jesus..."and this is when He was a baby being presented in the temple...and this was the time He was lost in Jerusalem..."

I made a promise a long time ago to pray the Rosary daily.  But I doubt I was enriched with the graces of praying Our Lady's Rosary by the way I said it.  I rushed through the Rosary in the morning, just to get it out of the way.  My mind meditated on my daily problems, food,  and duties I had to perform and never once on the mysteries of Christ's life.  Yet,  our Lady took pity on my poor attempts and gradually over the course of twenty years or so, I finally learned how to meditate on each mystery.

At first I used a little Scriptural Rosary book to help me.  I would read the scriptural passage pertaining to each mystery before I recited the Hail Mary.  I did not really meditate on the mystery but it was much better than the way I had been praying it so I persevered.

Then like a child learning to ride a bike without training wheels, it was time to let go of the Scriptural Rosary book and try to meditate on each mystery before the recitation of the Hail Mary.

I still used the method of recalling the scriptural passage but I found that when I tried to recall each passage myself, instead of reading it, it lead to another thought and another imagery regarding a particular mystery.  I did this for each of the four mysteries:  The Joyful, the Sorrowful, the Luminous and the Glorious.  Some meditations of the mysteries were more difficult than the others.  I found the Glorious Mysteries difficult to meditate on because I had trouble picturing Heaven.  The Sorrowful mysteries I found to be easy to meditate on,  and are also my favorites.  I was in awe on how much Jesus had to endure, in suffering, in torture and willingly, because He wanted to save our individual souls.  Sometimes, I brought myself to tears thinking of a particular mystery maybe because of how much Jesus or  Mary suffered for my sins but also because I could relate to it on a personal level.  For example,  after Jesus rose from the dead, I pictured Him being greeted by His dear Mother in the dark sepulchre, and then He has to leave her side to continue His work on redemption during the 40 days prior to His Ascension.  That mystery brought tears to my eyes as I recalled the day my son left home and my side to start his own life.

The following are examples of how to meditate on the mysteries.

1.  The First Sorrowful Mysteries:

a.  Imagine Jesus going to the Garden of Gethsemane with His chosen apostles.
b.  Imagine Jesus warning them to pray because He knew they were weak men.
c.  Imagine Jesus going off by Himself to talk to God in private, all this while experiencing an agony we cannot even begin to fathom.
d.  Remember His words:  "Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me."
e.  Remember:  "Yet, not My will, but Yours be done."
f.  Imagine great drops of sweat like blood dripping from His sacred head.
g.  Imagine an angel ministering to Him but wiping His brow and giving him words of comfort. Sometimes I image the Blessed Mother sending the Angel to help Jesus.
h.  Imagine Jesus going back to His disciples because He needed them for strength and finding them sleeping.  Imagine how disappointed He must have been.
i.  Remember His words to them "Could you not keep watch with Me for even an hour?"
j.  Imagine how Jesus must have felt at being betrayed by one of His own.




Wednesday, July 18, 2018

ACN News -In North Korea, despite hostile regime, the faith clings to life





FATHER KANG JU-SEOK is director of the Catholic Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Institute, which is based in Paju, in South Korea. The aim of the institute is to study peace-building methods in Northeast Asia and to work for the evangelization of North Korea.
As we know very little about North Korea, can you give us a picture of the day-to-day life in this country?

North Korea is often just seen as a security problem, headed by an irrational dictator with missiles. And often we miss out on the story of 24 million ordinary people who are living their lives in that country. In fact, we don't know much about their stories.

Nonetheless, according to the refugees from North Korea, people are no longer able to function within the state socialist economy—there is the lack of food rations, for example—and so the people have started smuggling goods back and forth across the border with China.

Many refugees report that there is more foreign information and more foreign media seeping into the country. More North Koreans have access to mobile phones, DVD players, and computers. Increasingly, they are secretly watching South Korean movies, soap operas, even Hollywood movies.

The country has about 24 million inhabitants, of which half live below the poverty line?

In the 1990s, many perished from starvation. We don't know the exact numbers. We think about 1 million people died in those days and today most North Koreans are suffering from extreme poverty. Because the North Korean regime has been violating the international rules concerning nuclear weapons, the UN sanctions have been in place for a long time.

I worry about the people, especially the poor and vulnerable, who suffer from those sanctions.

Few understand the political structure in North Korea, the personality cult of the Kim family. Can you explain?

Many experts say the country is a kind of religious group and that the people worship the Kim family. We don't know exactly the reason why people do this, how the system of the society works.

One thing that we can assume is that the fear and hatred of the people [towards South Korea] could be a reason. During the Korean War 2 or 3 million people died in North Korea. The government of North Korea is still taking advantage of this trauma of their people.

Before the reign of the Kim family, the North Korean capital of Pyongyang in the early 1900s was such a source of Christian activity that it was known as the Jerusalem of the East. At its height, 3 out of 10 people in Pyongyang were practicing Christians and more than 2000 churches were built in the region. What happened to decimate Christianity so quickly?

After the North Korean regime took control, the government thought that religion was its most dangerous enemy. Therefore, they started to persecute religious groups in various ways.

Even before the Korean War, many North Koreans, mostly Christians, crossed the border seeking freedom of religion. In addition, before and during the war in which millions of people were murdered, Christians were persecuted without remorse.

Today there are four-state sanctioned Churches in Pyongyang: two are Russian Orthodox, one is Roman Catholic and one is Protestant. They exist as “proof” that North Korea tolerates religion. Are these just facades?

It is a complicated thing. The Catholic Church in North Korea founded the “Chosun Catholic Members Association” along with the completion of the Changchung Cathedral in 1988.  With the Changchung Cathedral in Pyongyang and the Association thus established, they began to represent North Korean Catholics, while the Church in South Korea began a series of efforts for the sake of inter-Korean exchange and support.

Over the past 20 years, those priests and Catholics in the South who have visited North Korea through various channels had opportunities to visit Changchung Cathedral and to attend Mass together with the North Korean faithful. Humanitarian exchanges and aid have also been going on through the Changchung Cathedral.

However, the reaction toward the North Korean Church varies among South Korean priests and faithful. Some of them were impressed by the liturgy in which they participated, while others have come to have suspicions. It is understandable that some would have such suspicions, asking: “Are the North Koreans who come to Mass at Changchung Cathedral true believers?”

In my opinion, the truth is that there are some genuine faithful among those North Koreans who come to Mass in Changchung Cathedral. Though attendees are mobilized by the North Korean regime, I believe that some of them are real Catholic faithful.

Do you have hope that one day Christianity will flourish again North Korea?

Yes. Not soon but very slowly, I believe that Christianity will come back to the North along with the reform and opening up of North Korea. The North Korean regime will not let down its guard against religions and missionary works so easily. Yet, I believe that the Holy Spirit will be with us and we will need to make continuous efforts, along with much patience.


—Mark Riedemann


With picture of government buildings in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Saturday, June 30, 2018

On Novenas and Trusting in God



For someone who really did not like to be tied down to praying novenas for nine days,  I have come to love a few of them very much.  The following are some of favorites:

1.  The oldest novena known is the Holy Spirit Novena.  We pray that one for the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  The novena ends on the vigil of Pentecost.   That one is the best novena anyone can pray. 

2.  The second highly recommended novena is the Divine Mercy Novena which the Church prays starting on Good Friday and ending on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday.  We pray for the intentions of many people and the salvation on their souls.  Very powerful and we have Saint Faustina via St. John Paul II to thank for this novena.

3.  Saint Mother Teresa's Express novena is also one that helps a lot especially if you need help right away and don't have 9 days to wait.  You simply pray the Memorare nine times in a row.

4.  One of the newer novenas which is recommended by Pope Francis is the Mary, Untier of Knots novena.  This novena helps with things that complicate our lives or seem impossible to untangle.

5.  My own personal favorite is one that I have been doing for members of my family or my own personal intentions like before I travel.   It is a Mass and Holy Communion Novena and it entails 18 days total with nine in Petition and nine days in Thanksgiving. 

 Plot out 18 consecutive days hopefully ending with the vigil of a feast or solemnity.

1.  The first nine days are Novena for Petition.

- Mass intentions and attendance at Mass
-  During the Consecration at the elevation of the Precious Blood Chalice I again make the prayer request.
- Offering my Holy Communion for that particular intention

Optional:  Daily Rosary for that intention.

2.  Second 9 days are the Novena for Thanksgiving.

This is important because we should be confident God will answer our prayer request.  Whether He answers it in our time, His time, our way or His way, is up to Him but He will answer it.

- Mass in Thanksgiving and attendance at Mass.  If you can request Mass intentions for Thanksgiving that would be great.
- During the Consecration at the elevation of the Precious Blood Chalice I thank God for answering my prayers.
- Offering my Holy Communion in Thanksgiving.

Optional:  Daily Rosary in Thanksgiving.

Friday, June 29, 2018

ACN News -Nigerian bishop fears for the worst from attacks by Fulani herdsmen



“PLEASE DON’T make the same mistake as was made with the genocide in Rwanda. It happened under our noses, but no one stopped it. And we know well how that ended.” These are the words of Bishop William Amove Avenya of the Diocese of Gboko, in Benue State, where Christians form the majority of the population.

He is only the latest of the bishops of Nigeria’s Middle Belt to have raised his voice to denounce what is an increasingly worrying phenomenon—the attacks by Islamist Fulani Herdsmen on Christians in the region.

In recent days there have been new attacks in the area of Jos, the capital of Plateau State, killing more than100 people.

The Fulani Herdsmen have herded their flocks in parts of Nigeria’s Middle Belt for centuries and there have always been occasional clashes with local peasant farmers, the majority of whom are Christians today, and whose crops were frequently trampled and even destroyed by the herdsmen’s flocks.

Whereas in the past these conflicts were generally either tribal in nature or driven by economics, today they appear to have become increasingly religion-based in character.

According to official data, there have been 492 victims since the beginning of the year in Benue State alone. “They are criminals and terrorists, but they do not do the same things in the majority Muslim areas,” Bishop Avenya charges.

He added: “We are convinced that what is happening is an ethnic cleansing of Christians.”

Bishop Peter Iornzuul Adoboh of Katsina Ala Diocese (Benue State) and Bishop Matthew Ishaya Audu of Lafia Diocese (Nassarawa State) believe that there is a “clear agenda of Islamizing the Nigerian Middle Belt,” a plan that is making use of the Fulani Herdsmen.

“Their aim is to strike at the Christians,” explains Bishop Audu, “and the government is doing nothing to stop them, because President Buhari himself is a member of the Fulani tribe.”

Adding to the suspicions of complicity on the part of the government is not merely the inactivity of the federal police but also the fact that these Fulani Herdsmen are being armed with ever more sophisticated weaponry.

“At one time these pastoralists were armed only with sticks,” Bishop Avenya explains. “But now they are armed with AK-47’s—expensive weapons that they could not possibly afford. So who is supplying them?”

“Besides, in these areas there are checkpoints every mile-and-a-half. Is it possible that armed men and their flocks of cattle could have somehow become invisible?”

On May 22, 2018, all the dioceses of Nigeria took part in a protest march, calling on the government to protect the Christians.

Bishop Avenya insists: “Our faithful are being murdered or forced to live as refugees as a result of the violence, and the West continues to view the matter of the Fulani as merely an internal problem.”

“Don’t do as you did in Rwanda; don’t wait for the genocide to happen before intervening!”

—Marta Petrosillo


With picture of a demonstration by Christians in Nigeria in wake of deadly attack by Fulani herdsmen last April (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

ACN News -In Philippines, a third priest is killed in six months


ather Nilo was killed just as he was about to say Mass. What do you know about the circumstances?
He came from celebrating Mass in another village chapel. He was preparing to put on his alb to celebrate another Mass when he was shot four times near the altar in front of the Virgin Mary Our Lady of the Snows. He was even joking as usual with his altar server.

There are rumors that "Iglesia ni Cristo" (INC) could be behind the murder. Would it be possible? What would that mean for the Christian community in the Philippines?

The matter is under investigation. Whatever the investigators may find, there is no reason to kill anyone. We debate, we discuss but we should never resort to murder to settle differences.

Where does the hatred of the Catholic clergy come from?

Father Richmond was an advocate of Kaya Natin (We Can), a movement that promotes ethical political engagement. He was also an active defender of the Catholic faith. With regard to a mission like this—focused on faith and morality—some people will express hatred. But this opposition is no reason to keep silent.

Foreign observers call the Philippines "one of the most dangerous places for human rights activists, environmental activists and investigative journalists.” What can the church do in this heated situation?

The Church will always stand up for peace and mercy. Revenge is not in keeping with our message. Our first tool for social change is prayer. Only God can soften hardened hearts. Our second tool is to keep preaching Christ. We teach and never get tired to repeat the same message. The third response is dialogue. We dialogue with those who hate us or with all those who do not share our belief. We seek the common ground.

The political situation in the Philippines is becoming increasingly tense. At the same time, there were Islamist attacks in the south of the country. Is the country in danger? Could it break up?

We believe in the power of God. We are not afraid to be killed. We should rather be afraid to kill. Living in dangerous times has been part of our mission in the world.

The Lord said: ‘Fear not. I have overcome the world.’ The Church can survive and thrive in any situation.

—Tobias Lehner & Jonathan Luciano


With picture of Archbishop Socrates Buenaventura Villegas (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384. www.churchinneed.org

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

7 Ways to Keep a Spiritual Journal


A spiritual journal can be an invaluable help in our journey to holiness. 

The following are some ways to utilize a personal journal.

1.  Examination of Conscience - Catholics are required to exam their consciences at the end of each day.  Writing down our sins nightly will make our confessions better as we will not be apt to forgot the serious sins or even venial sins we need to confess because they have been written down. One note of caution though.   Once our sins have been confessed and absolved we should not go back and re-read the past sins.  We should trust in God's forgiveness and  mercy.

2.  Thanking God -  We can make a list of the blessings and graces from God in our journal.  Even if we list one thing a day we are thankful for, it will help to create a grateful heart in us.  Once we start to list our blessings and graces, we will see how much we take for granted and how much we owe God thanks. Also, once we start listing our blessings and graces, our list will grow to be very long.

3.  Talking to God, the Blessed Mother or the Saints - You can tell God your problems, concerns, worries, and anything you need by writing it down in your journal.  Reading a passage from Scripture and then waiting to God to talk to you will help you have a conversation with  God through your writing.  The same can be done with His Blessed Mother who is also our mother and the saint or saints of your choosing.  Ask them for help.  There are so many saints especially for particular concerns or causes, even ones we may not be familiar with as are the more popular ones.  There are also Servants of God, Venerables, Blesseds who may want to help us and we in turn can help them in order for them to be officially declared a saint in the Catholic Church.

4.  Our Faults and Weaknesses -  We can list the faults and weakness we need to overcome.  Writing these faults down will help gauge our progress each day.

5.  Inspirations -  As we do our spiritual readings we are bound to come across a quote that inspires us to holiness.  We should then copy that quote or inspiring words in our journal.

6.  Prayer Requests - We can list the requests for prayers for those in need.  They don't just have to be from those close to us, who have requested our prayers, but for needs around the world, or locally. We can also list the names of those who have died because the  Holy Souls in Purgatory could use our help in getting out.

7.  Holy Hour of Adoration -  During Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament we can again talk to God, we can tell Him how much we love Him.  We can ask Him to help us grow in holiness, to love Him more and to be a good example to others.  We can also list our prayer intentions during the Adoration hour.

Monday, May 14, 2018

ACN News -Christians in India suffer from discrimination, attacks by fundamentalist Hindus




N THE SOUTH Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Christians are complaining about increasing violence and discrimination by fundamentalist Hindus. In early May, about 20,000 Christians of various denominations in at least 16 towns took to the streets to demonstrate against anti-Christian aggression.

Since the start of the year, there have been reports of more than 15 cases involving violent attacks in Tamil Nadu. But the suppression of the Christian minority in mostly Hindu India is also intensifying in other parts of the country.

Nearly 80 percent of the total population of India is Hindu, with Christians accounting for just two percent of the population.

The offenses range from acts of desecration in churches to the rape of nuns and even the murder of a pastor, which provoked major protests by the Christian population.

Thousands took to the streets. The victim, a pastor of an independent Christian Church in the district of Kanchipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu, was found hung in January after he had complained to police about cases of harassment by Hindus.

Bishop Thomas Paulsamy of the Diocese of Dandigul reports that Christians in Tamil Nadu feel increasingly under threat from radical Hindu fundamentalists. The bishop spoke to us of his extreme disappointment about the increase in violent attacks.

"We Christians actually cultivate good relations with Hindus, Muslims and other religious groups," the bishop said. "We travel together, eat together and live together. Many even come into our churches." At Christmas, for example, he said, thousands of non-Christians attended Catholic liturgies, including many Hindus.

However, the bishop said, a Hindu nationalist minority is disturbing this peaceful co-existence in this way. In Bishop Thomas’ neighboring diocese, mainly protestant churches have recently been attacked and Bibles burned.

Bishop Paulsamy is chair of the Committee for Disadvantaged Castes and Tribes at the Indian bishops' conference. There is a discussion currently underway, he reported, on how the Christian minority in India can be protected more effectively.

An inter-religious working group has already been created in which representatives of a number of religious minorities, including Muslims, discuss possible solutions together. In addition, more and more bishops are now speaking out publicly and have protested against Hindu aggression. "But they do so always peacefully, never violently," Bishop Paulsamy stressed.
Bishop Paulsamy believes the main cause of deteriorating relations between Hindus and Christians is the rise to power of Narendra Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Before the BJP was in power, relations had been much more peaceful and harmonious, Bishop Paulsamy said.

Since Modi became prime minister, however, he indicated, fundamentalist Hindu groups have become increasingly powerful. "The BJP supports the fundamentalists," said the bishop.

According to its constitution, India is a secular and democratic republic. "All people have an equal right to freedom of conscience, and free profession, practice and propagation of religion," reads Article 25 of the constitution. However, Paulsamy warns that Prime Minister Modi wants to turn India into a Hindu country. He said: "He does not want the constitution to apply, but rather the religious principles and values of Hinduism."

Modi's ministers have repeatedly emphasized their support for measures intended to "protect" the Hindu religion, the bishop said. In the eyes of Hindu nationalists, religious minorities are seen as a threat, especially Muslims and Christians.

Following their electoral victory in 2014, the BJP government also wanted to reintroduce a nationwide anti-conversion law—a move which blocked by the law and justice ministry, which argued that any legislation from the central government which restricts the free choice of religion is a violation of the constitution.

Even so, anti-conversion laws are in force in seven of 29 Indian states. Conversion was also banned in Tamil Nadu, a state with a comparatively high proportion of Christians at 12 percent of the population.

Though the law has been rescinded, the government frowns upon conversions. It is unlikely that the Modi government will abandon efforts to impose a nationwide conversion ban.

National elections are slated for May 2019. The opposition is trying to form a coalition party to stand as one against the BJP. Whether this succeeds in challenging Modi's majority is far from certain. Christians may be faced with an additional five difficult years with the BJP in power.

If Modi and the BJP are re-elected, Bishop Paulsamy is certain discrimination against the Christian minority will continue. He concluded: "As long as the BJP is in government it will make life difficult for Christians in India."

—Maximilian Lutz


With picture of Bishop Thomas Paulsamy of Dindigul, India, celebrating Mass (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Monday, May 07, 2018

ACN News -Attack on church in Central African Republic kills 19


A PRIEST has described seeing at least 19 Christians being killed when gunmen “rained down bullets” on more than 2,000 people gathered for Mass in the Central African Republic.

Father Moses Otii, parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in the country’s capital of Bangui, reported that 120 parishioners were injured during the violence, which included grenade attacks. The assault took place May 1, 2018.

Father Otii said that the attackers “outnumbered the police and the police retreated, then the attackers started shooting at the church and throwing hand grenades at the people.”

He added: “With my own eyes I saw three hand grenades thrown in front of the church, but thank God in an area without people, and a grenade thrown in among many people gathered in the open air within the church’s compound.”

“The grenade was thrown from behind the parish walls into the crowd of people at Mass. It exploded.”
“Normally our Masses are celebrated in the open air since our church cannot contain more than 2,000 people. And we had more than 2,000 people for the Mass.”

He continued: “So many people were injured. They started running in all directions. We had people almost everywhere – our rooms, refectory, parish halls, our kitchen, and even in the toilets.”

“Others could not run. For example, a lady had both legs cut off by the grenade, she couldn’t move. It was a commotion with people running and people crying.”

Father Otii was on the altar with 15 concelebrating priests, when he saw the gunmen outside the Church targeting the Christians.

He said: “I saw the attackers waving their arms in what I interpreted as ‘calm down’ gesture just before they started raining bullets at the people gathered at Mass. I heard gunshots during the prayer of the faithful, just before the offertory.”

The priest added: “Immediately when things calmed down, we got some young people from the parish to help transport the injured to the hospital.”

Father Otii also said: “There are now bullet holes in the walls of the church and parish halls from this attack.”

He added: “Until now no one has claimed responsibility. People saw the attackers come from the direction of PK5 [neighborhood], which is just close to the parish – the majority of PK5 residents are Muslim.”

According to reports, PK5 is home to a number of former Séléka rebels. A mosque was also burnt down following the Church attack. Two men were killed.
Among those killed in Our Lady of Fatima Church was Father Albert Baba, who served in a nearby parish.

Father Otii said: “I knew him well. He was a calm speaker, he was in his 70’s. He was someone joyful. He was lively despite his age. During Eucharistic celebrations, he liked dancing. He had his own style of animating the Eucharistic celebrations.”

“Father Albert worked as Justice and Peace coordinator in the Archdiocese of Bangui. Where there was injustice he went and spoke to people from all walks of life to help them. He would surely want a prayer of peace to be heard after these attacks in our country.”

Protesters carried the priest’s body through the street of Bangui towards the presidential palace. President Faustin Archange Touadera called for three days of nation-wide mourning after the attacks.

Calling for peace, Father Otii said: “My prayer after the attacks in Bangui – Good Lord, bring us peace so that we can live like brothers and sisters together. Save all innocent people from their suffering. Good Lord stop the violence and transform the hearts of those attackers.”

“Come Lord, come to help us. May the blood of your servant Father Albert and of all the innocent that pours in this country not be in vain.”


Murcadha O Flaherty and John Newton



With picture of Father Moses Otii, showing bullet holes in our Lady of Fatima Church, Bangui, Central African Republic (© ACN)


Editor’s Notes:

kin-logo red 10mm rgb

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brook

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

ACN News -In wake of church massacre, Nigerian bishops call on president to step down


Nigeria’s bishops have issued a formal statement calling on the President to “consider stepping aside” and accusing the government of security failures which they blame for the murder of 17 Christians including two priests.

Father Joseph Gor, Father Felix Tyolaha and 15 parishioners were killed during a funeral Mass in Mbalom, Benue State by gunmen, with reports that about 30 Fulani militants waited for the faithful to gather at the church before attacking. They also burned down some 50 homes in the area.

Condemning the “rampaging and murderous terrorists”, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) issued a formal statement, asking: “…how can the federal government stand back while its security agencies deliberately turn a blind eye to the cries and wails of helpless and armless citizens who remain sitting ducks in their homes, farms, highway and now, even in their sacred places of worship?”

Writing in bold typeface, the bishops stressed: “…it is time for [Nigeria’s President Mudammadu Buhari] to choose the part of honor and consider stepping aside to save the nation from total collapse.” 

Accusing the President of ignoring repeated calls to step up security, the bishops assert: “He should no longer continue to preside over the killing fields and mass graveyard that our country has become.”

Written in the wake of the funeral Mass killings, which took place last Tuesday (April 24th), the bishops assert that they have lost confidence in the country’s security apparatus.

In their statement, the bishops declare: “Faced with these dark clouds of fear and anxiety, our people are daily being told to defend themselves. But defend themselves with what?”

The statement notes that the “government should encourage and empower citizens to secure themselves and their environments. This is not the time to disarm people with legally procured weapons of self-defense.”

The CBCN statement reports that, back in January, Father Gor, one of the priests killed last Tuesday, had warned about the continuing threat posed by Fulani herdsmen of whom he said: “They still go grazing around. No weapons to defend ourselves.”  

Highlighting security concerns across Nigeria’s Middle-Belt, Father Alexander Yeyock, parish priest of. St John’s Catholic Church, Asso village in nearby Kaduna State, told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN): “The concern now is that the entire nation should not depend so much on national security protection.”

“Every individual, groups and community should struggle to defend themselves.  This is grossly unfortunate.”

Father Yeyock’s parish was attacked a month ago when two Catholic men were shot dead, an atrocity which took place almost exactly a year after Fulani militants murdered 12 Christians during the Easter Vigil service at his church.

Referring to tension in his parish and across the region, Father Yeyock said: “In Asso, farmers go to farms in fear and in groups… Bereaved families have come to terms with the reality that attacks by Fulani herdsmen, [occur] frequently in Asso, but no place is spared.”

Father Yeyock added: “It’s again unfortunate that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are known by the government of Nigeria, those who sponsor them, too, and yet no action is taken.”

Highlighting that Fulani militants receive military training abroad before going on to target Christians, he said: “With the news of the current attacks, Nigerians have argued with the earlier narrative from the federal government who have very often told the world that it was always a clash between the herdsmen and farmers.” 

“It’s now evidently revealing that there is more to it than meets the eye… It is purely a religious jihad in disguise.” 

According to reports, the Acting Governor of Benue State, Benson Abounu, said last Tuesday’s attack showed that the security breakdown had “gone beyond [a] farmers-herders crisis.”


Editor’s Notes:



Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action. 

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide. 

For more information contact Michael Varenne at michael@churchinneed.org or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org