NEWS BRIEFS – OUR CHURCH – Aug. 16, 2018
Catholic News Service recently published the following news briefs on these topics: Funeral for “Mother Teresa of Pakistan”; True meaning of martyrdom; New LCWR president; Women religious communities’ numbers, Pope’s message on horoscopes, fortune tellers.
Nun known as 'Mother Teresa of Pakistan' to receive state funeral
HRISSUR, India -- The government of Pakistan will accord a state funeral to Sister Ruth Katharina Martha Pfau, a German-born member of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary who devoted her life to eradicating leprosy in Pakistan. Sister Ruth, dubbed the Mother Teresa of Pakistan, died Aug. 10 in Karachi. She was 87. "Sister Ruth was a model of total dedication. She inspired and mobilized all sections of society to join the fight against leprosy, irrespective of creed or ethnic identity," Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, president of Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference, told Catholic News Service Aug. 11. "We are happy that the government is according her a state funeral on Aug. 19," the archbishop said, noting it would be at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Karachi.
Cardinal calls Salvadorans to reflect on true meaning of martyrdom
VATICAN CITY -- The celebrations of the 100th anniversary Blessed Oscar Romero's birth should be a time to reflect on what it really means to call someone a martyr, said Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez of San Salvador. Too many people in El Salvador "continue to call martyrs those who picked up arms and died following an ideal" in the country's 12-year-long civil war, the cardinal wrote in an article for L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. The country's real martyrs, the cardinal said, "never stained their hands with blood," and they were "men and women who strove to love God and their neighbors." The real martyrs of El Salvador are Blessed Romero, "the assassinated priests and the four U.S. women -- three religious and a laywoman -- whose lives were taken in December 1980," he said, referring to Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donovan, a laywoman. In addition, he wrote, "we all have a debt that we must begin to settle as soon as possible. We are obliged out of gratitude to God and love for the truth to redeem the memory of hundreds of anonymous martyrs, most of whom were humble campesinos." "For us, martyr means witness," he said. "We must walk with them in the name of Christ.
Sister Teresa Maya, new LCWR president, brings bicultural view to role
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A familiar Spanish saying defines the experience and worldview of Sister Teresa Maya, a Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word: "Ni de aqui, ni de alla" ("from neither here nor there"). Before becoming president-elect of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in 2016, Sister Maya collaborated with the religious conference in Mexico, an experience that taught her there are "two or three versions of the same story -- whether it's because there's another language or cultural perspective or geography -- and that's important to keep in mind," she said. Sister Maya, who is Mexican-American, made the transition to LCWR president Aug. 11, the final night of the conference's annual assembly in Orlando. She will lead the organization as the rest of the U.S.Catholic Church starts to tip from a majority-Anglo to a majority-Hispanic congregation. LCWR is an association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has about 1350 members, who represent nearly 80 percent of the approximately 48,500 women religious in the United States.
Women religious advised to stop focusing on dwindling numbers
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Sister Mary Pellegrino, outgoing president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, urged participants at the group's annual assembly in Orlando not to focus on dwindling numbers of women religious but instead on the communion they have with each other. She said the danger of focusing too much on decreasing numbers is that it diminishes every vocation, the Church and even God. "It's rooted in a corporate God who ascribes to human notions of progress and growth, rather than rhythmic patterns of fruitfulness," Sister Pellegrino, a Sister of St. Joseph, said in an Aug. 10 talk, adding that concern about smaller numbers also "reflects our fears and our uneasy and unresolved relationship with death." She said a new emphasis on deepening communion could be liberating but also challenging. Sister Pellegrino gave the keynote address during the Aug. 8-11 assembly for the association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. LCWR has about 1,350 members, who represent nearly 80 percent of the approximately 48,500 women religious in the United States. Looking back, she said the "golden age" of religious life happened around World War II and after the Second Vatican Council and its call for renewal of religious life in the 1960s, it was all downhill, according to prevailing accounts that say women religious left teaching in the schools to take secular jobs, swapped habits for street clothes and became feminists.
Cling to the Lord, not horoscopes, fortunetellers, Pope says
VATICAN CITY -- When passing through the storm of life's difficult moments, Christians must latch on to Christ and not the false sense of security offered by psychics and soothsayers, Pope Francis said. Speaking to pilgrims before reciting the Angelus Aug. 13, Pope Francis talked about the day's Gospel passage, which recounts the story of Jesus walking on water. Jesus tells St. Peter to come to him, but his lack of faith when walking on the water toward Jesus during a storm leads to him slowly to start sinking in the sea. Christians today, Pope Francis said, also can doubt the assurance of Christ's presence when confronting life's "turbulent and hostile waters. When we do not cling to the word of the Lord, but consult horoscopes and fortunetellers to have more security, we begin to sink," the Pope said. Although most Romans escape the city during the summer, hundreds of pilgrims still made their way to St. Peter's Square, waving banners and flags while cheering loudly as the Pope appeared in the window of the Apostolic Palace. Pope Francis said the Sunday Gospel reading invites all Christians to reflect on their faith "both as individuals and as an ecclesial community, even the faith of all us here today in the square."