Saturday, June 29, 2013

ACN News - Egypt on the Edge


The leader of Catholic Copts has called on the world to pray for peace in Egypt amid growing tensions as millions throng the streets in rival protests.

Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Sidrak of Alexandria highlighted the growing crisis and unrest across the country in the build-up to a weekend of demonstrations marking one year since Mohammed Morsi became the country’s first Islamist president.

With protests already attracting nearly three million people and signs the numbers will dwarf those who prompted the February 2011 downfall of President Mubarak, Patriarch Sidrak said, “I call on people around the world: please pray, please pray that there is no more bloodshed.”

The patriarch’s call for prayer was made during a meeting Friday, June 28th June, with international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Both Patriarch Sidrak and Pope Tawadros II, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, have told their faithful to “follow their conscience,” saying they are free to protest if they wish.

Patriarch Sidrak went on to tell ACN, “Christians here do not use violence. Young people are more assertive now and will protect themselves.”

“As Christians, we are always together with moderate Muslims against what will harm Egypt.”

Patriarch Sidrak said that since the fall of Mubarak at least 200,000 Christians have left the country “party for economic reasons and partly through fear.”

He said, “Some people feel that Christians are second class citizens and are made to feel that they are not real Egyptians.”

Reiterating the appeal for prayer, Father Rafic Greiche, press officer for the Catholic Church in Egypt, told ACN, “Christians in Egypt are trapped in this situation between normal Muslims and the fundamentalist ones that suddenly emerged after the revolution leading to the fall of Mubarak.” 

His statement comes amid reports that a petition opposing Mr. Morsi and calling for early presidential elections has attracted up to 20 million signatures, outnumbering votes cast for the Muslim Brotherhood candidate in last year’s presidential elections.

Commenting on the petition’s popularity, Fr. Greiche told ACN, “The Christians are not sheep. The Copts are free to participate in protests.”

“All of us should pray for change, for social justice, for the poor, for religious freedom and for freedom of conscience.”

He said that sectarian attacks were now taking place almost daily whereas in the whole of Mubarak’s 30-year presidency, there had been 1,600.

With reports stating that up to three million people were out protesting across Egypt the evening of Thursday, June 27th,  one Muslim cleric warned ACN that there is danger of a civil war.

One a young Coptic Christian man, Ramy, aged 27, also told ACN, “We must take courage. We Christians must be brave and be salt and light to the world.”


With picture of protestor with Egyptian flag (© ACN)


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 fax718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

EWTN’s Statement On The Final Rule for the HHS Mandate



Irondale, AL – Today, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule for the contraception mandate portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  EWTN and its attorneys are still assessing this final rule, but our initial analysis has been disappointing. 

“The final rule issued today is inadequate because it appears to have changed nothing,” said EWTN President & Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw.

Specifically, it imposes the same narrow definition of a church, does not expand the exemption beyond churches, and still provides a meaningless “accommodation.” In short, it appears to have ignored the unprecedented number of public comments made against this HHS Mandate.

The proposed rule released in February of 2013 separated organizations into churches, eligible organizations, and everyone else. Under that proposed rule, religious organizations were fully exempt, eligible organizations received an accommodation, and everyone else was mandated to pay for abortion-causing drugs, contraceptives, and voluntary sterilization procedures. EWTN filed public comments strongly arguing that these services and drugs are not health care, are validly objectionable on grounds other than religious beliefs, and that the rule was faulty for allowing only churches to be fully exempt while leaving organizations like EWTN on shaky ground, unable to reliably determine if it even qualifies as an eligible organization. The proposed rule also failed to show that the “accommodation” provided for eligible organizations did anything to actually accommodate reasonable objection to the mandated services.

Despite this news, we are encouraged by the recent court victories for Tyndale Publishers and Hobby Lobby because these cases demonstrate that the rule unfairly limits religious liberty and first amendment rights. EWTN and its attorneys at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty will continue to assess the options at this time.

Said Warsaw: “EWTN remains committed to fighting this senseless mandate.” 

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 32nd year, is available in over 225
million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website 
www.ewtn.com, electronic and print news services, and publishing arm, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world.

Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul

Saints Peter and Paul Church, Honolulu

Prayer to Sts. Peter and Paul for the Holy Catholic Church 

 Defend, O Lord, thy servants, 
we beseech thee,
 from all dangers both of body and soul; 
and, by the intercession of the blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God, 
of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, 
of  St. Damien of Molokai, and Saint Mother Marianne Cope, 
and of all thy saints, 
mercifully grant us the blessings of peace and safety;
that all adversities and errors being removed, 
thy Church may freely and securely serve thee;
through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Original prayer source, modified here to include the Hawaiian saints

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Happy the Man...


Mary and Jesus


ACN News - Catholics attacked in Bangladesh


According to local Catholic leaders, persistent tensions and outright attacks are part of life for Christians in Bangladesh.

International Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has been following the situation of the Church in Bangladesh years.

"In the Dinajpur Diocese in the north-west of the country Catholic Christians are being repeatedly attacked by Muslim groups," Véronique Vogel, head of ACN’s India section, confirmed.

According to the Bishop of Dinajpur, Sebastian Tudu, a missionary center in the village of Bulakipur is being guarded by 30 policemen.

"The worst of it is that in three villages which have been attacked the men were no longer at home,” the bishop reported.

“Many women and children are suffering and living in fear and terror."

Véronique Vogel further described the situation saying, "For months militant forces in Bangladesh have recruited a lot of new followers. This is a very worrying development.”

“A few months ago Buddhists were attacked, and now it's the turn of the Christians.”

Concerning the background to the unrest, Ms. Vogel also commented that “not only religious motives are involved here, but also political ones."

"There is a great shortage of land in Bangladesh, for example. Some groups therefore sometimes put simple people under great pressure with the aim of taking over their land.”

“If on top of this they belong to a different religious community a religious and political conflict will soon develop,” Ms. Vogel said.

“Bangladesh is a powder keg, a very poor country with serious social problems."

At the beginning of June, the Catholic seminary of Dinajpur was raided by Muslims who forced their way into the building, destroyed it and attacked the 25 seminarians present.

The diocese reported the matter to the police and the candidates for the priesthood were housed temporarily at another location.

The background for the attack was possibly a dispute between Muslim and Christian families in a neighboring village, leading a group of Muslims to decide to seek out and attack the seminary.

Bangladesh is a predominantly Muslim country in which Islam is the state religion and some 90 per cent of the 142 million inhabitants are Muslims, predominantly Sunni.

Close to 9 per cent of Bangladeshis are Hindus, while only 0.3 per cent are Buddhists and Christians. Of that number, some 318,000 are Catholic.


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 fax718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.  www.churchinneed.org

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Each Day


Loving God


The Thought of God


Congratulations to Bishop Larry Silva!

Bishop Larry Silva to Receive the Order of Honorary Alii Knight Companion, 7th Degree. For those of you who don't live in Hawaii, you have to know that this is a very high honor! And, it is being bestowed on Hawaii's own bishop!



Read it here