August 26, 2014

Positivity: ‘Passion of the Christ’ Actor Jim Caviezel …

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

remains strongly pro-life, and unafraid to speak out.

August 25, 2014

Positivity: Pope gets warm welcome from children with disabilities

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Seoul:

Aug 16, 2014 / 09:28 pm

Pope Francis visited the House of Hope rehabilitation center for children with disabilities in South Korea on Aug. 15 where he was welcomed in a festive and joyful environment.

The Pope arrived Kkottongnae, known as the “City of Flowers,” in the early evening and was received by thousands of people in the streets chanting “Viva el Papa, Viva Cristo” and adorned by South Korean and Vatican flags.

After greeting the people in the streets, the pontiff was received by two religious sisters and a religious brother who are in charge of the House of Hope. The Pope was taken around and shown the rehabilitation center which serves children with severe disabilities.

Part of the tour included a small chapel where Pope Francis stopped and prayed with several religious and three young people with disabilities. Upon leaving the chapel, he affectionately blessed the young people and then moved on to a large room where he was warmly greeted by 50 people with disabilities and several religious.

A child in a wheelchair presented Pope Francis with a bouquet of flowers which the Pope then carried and placed at the feet of a statue of the Virgin Mary.

As the Pope walked around, greeted and blessed each person affectionately, he was given by another child a wreath of violet flowers which he wore around his neck as he circled the room. …

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August 24, 2014

Positivity: Don’t reduce the faith to easy answers, Pope warns bishops

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From Seoul:

Aug 16, 2014 / 09:03 pm

A deep understanding of our identity as Christians is needed to combat the modern tendency to reduce the faith to superficiality, Pope Francis told 68 bishops from 35 countries gathered during his trip to South Korea.

“Without a grounding in Christ, the truths by which we live our lives can gradually recede, the practice of the virtues can become formalistic, and dialogue can be reduced to a form of negotiation or an agreement to disagree,” he warned in an Aug. 16 address at the shrine in Haemi.

In his remarks, the Pope zeroed in on the theme of Christian identity, outlining both major threats to it in today’s society as well as ways the bishops can embrace it and evangelize more fully.

Announced by the Vatican in March, the Pope’s Aug. 13-18 trip follows an invitation from the president of the Korean Republic, Park Geun-hye, and the bishops of Korea.

During his time, the Pope traveled from the capital city of Seoul to Daejon, where he celebrated the Sixth Asian Youth Day with thousands of young people. He also visited the rehabilitation center for disabled persons in Kkottongnae, made a trip to the shrine in Haemi for a closing Mass with Asian youth.

Speaking to the bishops on Sunday, Pope Francis said that the first and most insidious threat to Christian identity lies in the “deceptive light of relativism” – which, “obscures the splendor of truth and, shaking the earth beneath our feet, pulls us toward the shifting sands of confusion and despair.” …

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August 23, 2014

Positivity: Church can learn social media tips from Jesus, archbishop says

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From Houston:

Aug 18, 2014 / 05:06 pm

If Christianity could be contained in one tweet, it might read: God creates man, man sins against God, God sends his only Son into the world to bring man back to Him.

It’s a difficult task to fit the entire Gospel into 140 characters or less. But that doesn’t mean the Church shouldn’t try.

That was Archbishop Jose Gomez’s Aug. 16 message on media and the New Evangelization at the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL) conference in Houston, Texas.

In fact, he said, the Church can learn from the brevity of some of Jesus’ teachings and the prayers of early Christians when creating social media content.

“Jesus spoke in ‘brief’ but memorable forms,” the archbishop reflected, “think about his beatitudes, his parables, and his aphorisms. The Desert Fathers and early Christian monks used proverbs and short prayers drawn from the Psalms and the Scriptures.”

The concept of the Church employing the latest media to share the Gospel is not a new one, the Archbishop noted. Evangelization has always been about communication, and technology has always helped further that mission, beginning with the printing press and continuing with radio, T.V. and the internet.

For the 23rd World Communications Day in 1989, even before the internet was standard household technology, Pope St. John Paul II observed: “The question confronting the Church today in not any longer whether the man in the street can grasp a religious message, but how to employ the communications media so as to let him have the full impact of the gospel message.”

That question remains relevant as technology continues to change and advance. …

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August 22, 2014

Positivity: Korean nuns voice joy, gratitude for audience with Pope

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From Seoul:

Aug 18, 2014 / 12:03 pm

Two Korean nuns have expressed their excitement at having participated in an audience with Pope Francis, stating that his words on poverty and the witness of the martyrs were particularly impactful.

“I was very happy, thankful for his closeness. But for everyone, the whole people, they are very happy,” Sister Lee Hee Jung told CNA Aug. 17. “It’s a feeling that is difficult to express, because there are so many emotions that I felt – consolation, joy, gratitude, a feeling of surprise.”

It’s a “feeling that his words touch you,” she said, explaining that “he is a like a motor for us, he gives us energy, he moves us. He gives us strength. And this is hard to express in one word.”

Sister Lee, who is celebrating the 25th anniversary of her first profession this year, was one of the thousands of religious present for Pope Francis’ Aug. 16 audience with the religious communities of Korea, which was held at the Training Center “School of Love” in Kkottongnae.

The meeting came during the Pope’s Aug. 13-18 visit to South Korea, with coincided with the Sixth Asian Youth Day. Earlier during the trip, he met with youth from across Asia and beatified 124 Korean martyrs at a Mass attended by an estimated 1 million people. …

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August 21, 2014

Positivity: Memory, hope, witness are Korea trip’s import, Pope reflects

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From Vatican City:

Aug 20, 2014 / 08:22 am

Pope Francis discussed his recent trip to South Korea in his General Audience address Wednesday, saying its significance is found in the three words memory, hope, and witness.

In South Korea “the Church is the guardian of memory and of hope: and is a spiritual family in which adults transmit to youths the torch of the faith received from the elderly; the memory of the witnesses of the past becomes a new witness in the present, and hope for the future,” he said Aug. 20 at the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

“In light of this it is possible to read the two principle events of this voyage: the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs, who are added to those canonized 30 years ago by St. John Paul II; and the encounter with the youth, on the occasion of the Sixth Asian Youth Day.”

The Pope began his address giving thanks for the great gift of his visit to Korea, calling the Church there both “youthful and dynamic, founded upon the witness of the martyrs and animated by a missionary spirit.”

He noted that the Republic of Korea “is a nation which has had a remarkable and rapid economic development. Its inhabitants are hardworking, disciplined, ordered, and must maintain the strength inherited from their ancestors.”

Youth are always “searching for that which makes life worth living, and the martyrs bear witness to that, indeed, to That One for whom it is worth to give up one’s life. This really is the Love of God, who took flesh in Jesus, the Witness of the Father.”

Pope Francis discussed also the Church in Korea as “guardian also of the memory of the primary role of the laity in the dawn of the faith … in that land, in fact, the Christian community was not founded by missionaries, but by a group of Korean youth in the second half of the 1700s, who were fascinated by certain Christian texts, who studied them profoundly and chose them as a rule of life.” …

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August 20, 2014

Positivity: ‘Asian youth, wake up!’ Church needs your witness, Pope says

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Seoul:

Aug 17, 2014 / 02:20 am

Addressing thousands of young people from across Asia, Pope Francis emphasized the urgent need to “wake up” and spread Christ’s love throughout the continent, pointing to the martyrs as examples.

“Asian youth, wake up!” the Pope exclaimed.

“As young Christians, whether you are workers or students, whether you have already begun a career or have answered the call to marriage, religious life or the priesthood, you are not only a part of the future of the Church; you are also a necessary and beloved part of the Church’s present!” he said.

The Pope delivered the homily at the Aug. 17 Closing Mass of the 6th Asian Youth Day, which took place at Haemi Castle, a fortress that was used to imprison Christians during the 19th century. The Mass was held during the Pope’s historic Aug. 13-18 trip to South Korea.

Pope Francis invited the young people of Asia to imitate the martyrs of the continent, including the 124 Korean martyrs he beatified the previous day.

These men and women, he said, “handed over their bodies to their persecutors; to us they have handed on a perennial witness that the light of Christ’s truth dispels all darkness, and the love of Christ is gloriously triumphant.”

The Pope pointed to the theme of the event – “Asian Youth! Wake up! The glory of the martyrs shines upon you!” – describing these words as being both a consolation and a responsibility for those who hear them.

The diverse Asian countries from which attendees had gathered each offer a unique context for the reflection of Christ’s love, he said. …

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August 19, 2014

Positivity: Pope to Koreans — Trust in the reconciling power of the Cross

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Seoul:

Aug 17, 2014 / 06:39 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- At the concluding Mass of his historical trip, Pope Francis urged the faithful to embrace Christ’s message of forgiveness and reconciliation, stressing earlier in his visit that there is only “one Korea.”

“This…is the message which I leave you,” the Pope told the congregation gathered at the Aug. 18 Mass held at the Myeong-dong Cathedral in Seoul. “Trust in the power of Christ’s cross! Welcome its reconciling grace into your own hearts and share that grace with others!”

“I ask you to bear convincing witness to Christ’s message of forgiveness in your homes, in your communities and at every level of national life.”

The Pope’s Aug. 13-18 trip follows an invitation from the president of the Korean Republic, Park Geun-hye, and the bishops of Korea. During his time, the Pope traveled from the capital city of Seoul to Daejon, where he celebrated the Sixth Asian Youth Day with thousands of young people.

He also visited the rehabilitation center for disabled persons in Kkottongnae, as well as a shrine in Haemi for a closing Mass with Asian youth.

Speaking off-the-cuff to young people earlier in the week, the Pope addressed the division between North and South Korea, emphasizing that the two are “one family,” and calling for prayers of re-unification while stressing repentance and forgiveness. He then paused and invited those gathered spend a moment praying in silence for unity between the two countries. …

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August 18, 2014

Positivity: Korean Church has revitalized my faith, Filipino youth reflects

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Seoul, South Korea:

Aug 17, 2014 / 02:31 pm

At the conclusion of the 6th Asian Youth Day, a young Filipino pilgrim stated that the greatest thing he will walk away with is a higher value of his faith, thanks to the profound devotion of Korean Catholics.

“The biggest thing that I will take with me from this experience is the vitality of faith here in Korea, because in the Philippines, we know that the Philippines is a Catholic country, but the faith becomes routine,” Jessie Perez told CNA Aug. 17.

“But here in Korea it’s not routine, it’s not common for them to become Catholic. That’s why they value their faith so much,” he observed, stating that “I would like to instill our young people to value their faith, to value what they have, to value the Catholicism that we have.”

Hailing from Manila, Perez was present along with other members of his group for Pope Francis’ closing mass for the 6th Asian Youth Day, which followed the theme “Asian youth! Wake up! The glory of the martyrs shines on you!”

The Mass took place Aug. 17 at Haemi castle, which is a few hours south of the capital city of Seoul.

Noting how the main purpose of his visit was to participate in the Asian Youth Day, Perez explained that he also wanted to come “to experience faith, to experience the vitality of the Catholic faith in Asia” through the youth event.

Being in mass with Pope Francis “serves as a challenge for me with the homily that he gave us, the Asian youth,” he said. …

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August 17, 2014

Positivity: Only a joyful witness will attract, Pope tells religious

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Kkottongnae, South Korea:

Aug 16, 2014 / 03:22 am

Addressing the religious communities of Korea, Pope Francis urged a deep reliance on the mercy of God and a focus on community life in transmitting the joy of the Gospel to the world.

“Only if our witness is joyful will we attract men and women to Christ,” the Holy Father told a gathering of religious brothers and sisters in South Korea.

“And this joy is a gift which is nourished by a life of prayer, meditation on the word of God, the celebration of the sacraments and life in community,” he explained. “When these are lacking, weaknesses and difficulties will emerge to dampen the joy we knew so well at the beginning of our journey.”

Pope Francis met Aug. 16 with religious communities of Korea at the Training Center “School of Love” in Kkottongnae. The meeting came during the Pope’s Aug. 13-18 visit to South Korea, with coincided with the Sixth Asian Youth Day. Earlier during the trip, he met with youth from across Asia and beatified 124 Korean martyrs at a Mass attended by an estimated 1 million people.

Thanking the religious communities of Korea for their efforts to build the Kingdom of God, Pope Francis observed that religious life is a great gift that enriches the Church.

He called the religious to reflect on the central role that joy must play in their lives.

“The firm conviction of being loved by God is at the center of your vocation: to be for others a tangible sign of the presence of God’s Kingdom, a foretaste of the eternal joys of heaven,” he said. …

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August 16, 2014

Positivity: Pope Francis: Peace in Korea benefits entire world

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Seoul, South Korea:

Aug 14, 2014 / 02:18 am

In his first public address after arriving in South Korea, Pope Francis called government officials to work for an authentic and far-reaching peace, which requires forgiveness and cooperation.

“Peace is not simply the absence of war, but ‘the work of justice,’” the pontiff said Aug. 14, alluding to the words of the prophet Isaiah.

“And justice, as a virtue, calls for the discipline of forbearance; it demands that we not forget past injustices but overcome them through forgiveness, tolerance and cooperation,” he continued. “It demands the willingness to discern and attain mutually beneficial goals, building foundations of mutual respect, understanding and reconciliation.”

After an initial private Mass and a welcoming ceremony, the Pope met at the “Blue House” in Seoul with government and civil authorities – including South Korean president Park Geun-hye – as well as members of the diplomatic corps.

He thanked those present for their warm welcome and expressed his joy in coming to Korea, with its natural beauty, as well as the beauty of its people, culture and history.

“This national legacy has been tested through the years by violence, persecution and war,” he lamented. “But despite these trials, the heat of the day and the dark of the night have always given way to the morning calm, that is, to an undiminished hope for justice, peace and unity.” …

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August 15, 2014

Positivity: En route to Korea, Pope prays for journalists killed in Gaza

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:01 am

From :

Aug 13, 2014 / 12:23 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Aboard the papal flight to South Korea today, Pope Francis led an impromptu moment of silence to pray for a photojournalist who was killed in Gaza, and thanked journalists for their work.

Simone Camilli, a 35-year-old Italian working for the Associated Press, and his freelance Palestinian translator, Ali Shehda Abu Afash, died Aug. 13 along with four Gazan bomb disposal offficers who were trying to dismantle an Israeli missile.

The missile exploded in Beit Lahiya as they tried to neutralize it. Four additional persons, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were gravely injured by the explosion.

Fighting between Israel and Hamas since July 8 has killed more than 1,900 Palestinians, and 67 Israelis.

“These are the consequences of war,” Pope Francis told reporters after learning of the death of Camilli, Afash, and the others.

“Thanks for your service,” the Pope told the journalists on his flight. “Thanks for all that you do.”

Pope Francis asked for a moment of silence to pray for those who died in Beit Lahiya; the moment lasted about 30 seconds. …

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August 14, 2014

Positivity: Be guardians of hope, Pope Francis tells Korea’s bishops

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Seoul, South Korea:

Aug 14, 2014 / 03:35 am

On the first day of his historic papal visit to South Korea, Pope Francis urged local bishops to not only remember their rich history of martyrdom but look to the future with hope and missionary zeal.

“As pastors, you are responsible for guarding the Lord’s flock. You are guardians of the wondrous works which he accomplishes in his people,” the Pope said in his Aug. 14 address to the country’s Catholic Church leaders.

“Guarding is one of the tasks specifically entrusted to the bishop: looking after God’s people,” he noted in his prepared remarks, adding that Korea’s bishops are charged in particular with being “guardians of memory and guardians of hope.”

Announced by the Vatican in March, the Pope’s Aug. 13-18 trip follows an invitation from the president of the Korean Republic, Park Geun-hye, and the bishops of Korea.

During his time, the Pope will travel from the capital city of Seoul to Daejon, where he will celebrate the Sixth Asian Youth Day with thousands of young people expected to attend. He will also visit the rehabilitation center for disabled persons in Kkottongnae, as well as a shrine in Haemi for a closing Mass with Asian youth.

Speaking to the Korean bishops’ conference on Thursday, the Pope encouraged them to live their guardianship of memory by recognizing how the “seeds sown by the martyrs” have “brought forth an abundant harvest of grace in this land.”

“You are the children of the martyrs, heirs to their heroic witness of faith in Christ,” he emphasized. “You are also heirs to an impressive tradition which began, and largely grew, through the fidelity, perseverance and work of generations of lay persons.”

In this vein, the “great legacy handed down from your forefathers” can be seen today in active parishes and ecclesial movements, effective catechesis and outreach to youth, as well as Catholic schools and seminaries, he said.

The Pope strayed from his prepared comments on several occasions, stressing that bishops should not be distant from priests, but should be available and attentive to their needs. He also warned them to beware of the temptations that accompany prosperity. …

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August 13, 2014

Positivity: Advocates advise that First Amendment protects school choice

Filed under: Education,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Denver:

Aug 11, 2014 / 02:07 pm

Faith-based schools should not be excluded from Colorado’s educational choice programs, according to a brief filed by attorneys in a case which is due to be heard by the state supreme court.

“School districts have a responsibility to provide the best educational choices for parents and their children without discriminating against religious options,” commented Gregory Baylor, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, in an Aug. 5 statement.

Baylor affirmed that religious schools in Colorado “provide an excellent education that meets all state standards. They should continue to be welcomed into programs like this one so that students, the community, and the government will all benefit.”

Taxpayers for Public Educations v. Douglas County was filed by those who maintain that the acceptance of religious schools in the county’s Choice Scholarship Program breaches the state constitution, violating provisions governing the church-state relationship.

The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled against the lawsuit, supporting Douglas County’s decision that religious options in education do not oppose the state constitution.

However, opponents filed for an appeal against this decision which will be reviewed by the Colorado Supreme Court.

The attorneys of Alliance Defending Freedom filed a brief with the Colorado Supreme Court in defense of the appellate court’s decision, stating that the “Court of Appeals affirmed that the Choice Scholarship Program respects the first amendment and the private religious choices of Colorado families.”

“The Colorado Supreme Court has every reason to reach the same conclusion.” …}

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August 12, 2014

Positivity: Korean faithful show God is ‘alive, powerful’ in Asia

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From Rome:

Aug 12, 2014 / 04:02 am

The rich history of martyrdom in South Korea and the thousands of young people slated to gather this week for Pope Francis shows the beauty and power of the faith, says a local bishop.

Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon will host Pope Francis in his diocese Aug. 15, when the pontiff takes part in the Sixth Asian Youth Day by celebrating Mass in the World Cup Stadium.

The bishop told CNA that around six thousand young people are anticipated to join Pope Francis for the event, and “will come from 22 different countries, and among those Japan, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Indonesia.”

“Asian Youth Day is so important,” he said in an Aug. 11 interview. “This meeting shows the future of the Church.”

Announced by the Vatican in March, the Pope’s Aug. 13-18 trip follows an invitation from the president of the Korean Republic, Park Geun-hye, and the bishops of Korea.

“Korean people, both believers and non believers, are praying that Francis may bring the Lord’s peace in the whole land of Korea,” Bishop You said.

Despite the “diplomatic tension between” North and South Korea, the news of Pope Francis’ visit has “already opened our administration’s heart, who had invited young North Korean people to take part” in the youth event.

North Korean authorities have declined the South Korean invitation to take part at least at the concluding Mass the Pope is scheduled to celebrate Aug. 18 at Myeongdong Cathedral, seat of the Archdiocese of Seoul – but there is no news about North Korean young people taking part to the Asian Youth Day.

“We are still waiting for their response, and we will look forward to it until the very end, with our heart open,” Bishop You said. …

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