INTERVIEW: Sister Speaks of Joy of Little Ones in Kenya Nursery School as They Await Pope Francis’ Visit
Sister Maureen Shares How the Holy Father Is Visiting at Just the Right Time, When He Is Needed Most
Ahead of Pope Francis’ arrival in Kenya tomorrow, little children, many of whom have lost parents from AIDS, cannot wait for the Holy Father to be in their country, and one sister says he is light who is coming in the darkness.
In an interview with ZENIT on Monday, Kenyan Sister Maureen Ogundeph, 32, from the Diocese of Homabay, of the congregation of the Sacramentine Sisters of Bergamo, reflected on the Pontiff’s visit to the African nation, saying, “In fact, he has come at the right time when we needed him, a moment our country is faced with high insecurity, corruption, high rise of HIV, youth disintegration and economic crisis.”
Pope Francis makes his first Apostolic Visit to Africa Nov. 25-30, and will be visiting the capitals of Kenya, Uganda, and Central African Republic.
The charism of the Sacramentine Sisters of Bergamo is perpetual adoration and educating youth at all levels with the motive of helping them love Jesus in the Eucharist. The community of seven sisters live at Emmaus Parish Rongo in the Homabay Diocese and are composed of two Italian sisters, three Malawian sisters and two Kenyan sisters.
The sisters have a nursery school with 320 children, ages 2 to 6, from morning to evening, helping them to grow holistically. They provide pastoral work in the parish, where they accompany Catholic women and try to empower them, along with pontifical missionary children and youths whom they also accompany in their spiritual, moral, emotional and social growth. The nuns also do pastoral visits to nearby primary schools to give pastoral instruction to children in schools, since they rarely have time for catechesis at the parish.
In this interview, Sister Maureen speaks about the little ones and the challenges they face, as well as what Pope Francis and his visit means to them. Moreover, she says what they have been doing to prepare for his arrival, why she sees the visit to be so important, and what the little ones think of the Holy Father.
ZENIT: How are the children? What is it like to help them?
Sister Maureen: The little ones are very simple, a number of them very vulnerable. They come to school in the morning between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m.. They are from different types of families, some are from average families, some are orphans of parents who died of AIDS, some are from single parents and some are from very poor families. At school we try to put them in the same level, to provide them with love and attention which they lack, to provide them with meals, (we offer them break and lunch) and to teach them values necessary for their growth. In a real sense they spend more time with us than with their parents.
ZENIT: Can you describe the excitement around Pope Francis’ visit? Especially for all of you and all the children you help?
Sister Maureen: We are so excited. I mean everyone talks just about Pope Francis, at the market, shops, and everywhere. Every morning after Mass we and the Christians are having commitment of offering prayers for him and every evening at vespers in our community. We wish to see him; we want to hear his message for us. His coming brings hope and encouragement to us. In fact, he has come at the right time when we needed him, a moment our country is faced with high insecurity, corruption, high rise of HIV, youth disintegration and economic crisis. We believe he is bringing us Christ’s message and we are ready to welcome him.
ZENIT: What do the little ones think of Pope Francis?
Sister Maureen: They think he is holy, that he loves children because they see pictures of him with children and they hear their parents speak well about him. They say he must be as kind as our bishop. They wish they could get access to him, only that we can’t bring them all to him.
ZENIT: Will you see Pope Francis? When? Will you go with the little ones? Approximately how many?
Sister Maureen: We have got a lot of demand from the community around and even our bishop to have a continuity of our nursery school to primary because around this area there are many non-Catholic schools, children attend school everyday even weekends from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., so there is no time for church and even for formation, but with the little we get we cannot expand — though we have bought the land for this project. So having primary could be a good opportunity to lay good foundations for the children from this big community.
The biggest challenge we face is that we have our nursery school which was built around 20 years ago with the iron sheet roofs which are really worn out, are leaking and need to be replaced. Another challenge is to provide the children with food every day. It is very difficult because food is expensive and most parents cannot pay a high fee. We struggle with farming to supplement, but, at times, it’ s difficult to make ends meet.
ZENIT: Do you think this visit will help to confront these challenges? What needs to be done to help?
Sister Maureen: Of course, yes. Pope Francis is very optimistic and motivational. His coming will enlighten us on how to move on with hopes, will motivate Kenyans and especially the youths and will encourage us amidst the challenges we face.
ZENIT: Why, from your point of view, is this visit to Africa and Kenya so important? What do you hope for it?
Sister Maureen: This visit is important because we view Pope Francis as our leader, our father, our, mentor, role model and advisor, and so we know he has a message of light where we have been in darkness, of hope where we are losing hope, of love where we have planted hatred, of unity where we have created division, of wisdom where we are living in mediocrity and of truth where we have always fenced the truth with lies. We hope for light after this darkness, for taste that we have lost, for pride in our house the church and to focus ahead.
ZENIT: As a sister helping these children who have such difficult family situations, how have the Pope’s words about ‘reaching out to the peripheries’ touched you?
Sister Maureen: It has touched me in that it has given me hope and I feel more encouraged. To know that he is together with us spiritually is very encouraging.
ZENIT: Anything else you would like to add? Any appeals or prayers?
Sister Maureen: Let’s wait with joy and hope for the coming of our Holy Father. If there is a person, people, an organization concerned with the welfare of these children we handle who desire to assist us in one way or the other, we would really appreciate, especially in terms of changing the roofing, helping with the feeding program or assisting in the construction of the primary school.</p>
Let’s pray together before Jesus in the Eucharist that our heart may be drawn more to him and that we may learn from him to serve the humanity. God bless.
Bishop Named for Personal Ordinariate in the USA
“A bishop will help to give the Ordinariate the stability and permanence necessary to fulfil its mission to be a work of Catholic unity, whose roots are to be found in the great texts of the Second Vatican Council”
Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Steven Joseph Lopes as ordinary bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, in the United States of America and Canada.
The Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is one of the personal ordinariates for former Anglicans established under the 2009 apostolic constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus.” Australia and England and Wales also have ordinariates.
Steven Lopes, a California native, was ordained a priest in 2001. He holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and is currently an official of the secretariat of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
He succeeds Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson, whose resignation from the pastoral ministry of the same Personal Ordinariate was given in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
Bishop-elect Lopes will be the first bishop to lead the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.
Monsignor Steenson, a former bishop of the Episcopal Church now ordained to the Catholic priesthood, is not eligible for ordination to the episcopate because he is married.
Monsignor Steenson released the following statement:
This is the happy outcome of much careful consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to whom I first made this request almost a year ago. I welcome this news with all my heart, for the Ordinariate has now progressed to the point where a bishop is much needed for our life and mission. A bishop will help to give the Ordinariate the stability and permanence necessary to fulfil its mission to be a work of Catholic unity, whose roots are to be found in the great texts of the Second Vatican Council.
That the Ordinariate would ultimately be headed by a bishop has been the intention of Anglicanorum coetibus, the apostolic constitution under which we were established in 2012. It is indeed an encouraging sign that we have reached that goal. With the inauguration of our new missal, Divine Worship, on the first Sunday of Advent, the time seems especially propitious.
It was on the occasion of my reception into the Catholic Church in 2007 when I first met Msgr. Lopes, and we have worked closely together ever since. There is no one who knows better the work of the Pastoral Provision and the Ordinariates: those entities created in response to Anglicans seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. Msgr. Lopes has been deeply involved the Anglicanae Traditiones Commission, charged with identifying “that liturgical expression which has nourished and maintained Catholic faith amongst Anglicans throughout the period of ecclesial separation and which in these days has given rise to aspirations for full communion with the Catholic Church.” He is thus uniquely qualified to be our first bishop.
It is particularly noteworthy that the Holy Father’s appointment is the culmination of a process for selecting an ordinary laid out in Article IV of the Complementary Norms of Anglicanorum coetibus. This provides for a significant consultative process that begins with the Governing Council of the Ordinariate presenting a terna of candidates. I am grateful to the members of the Governing Council, who accomplished this task with discernment and discretion.
I am grateful, too, for the encouragement, wise counsel, and support of the members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops during these first four years of the Ordinariate’s existence. I will always treasure the friendships made with these bishops. Their warm welcome for us pilgrims has certainly deepened the joy we know as Catholics.
– Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson, Ordinary Emeritus
Liturgies of the Word in Workplaces
Are They OK to Use on Their Own?
Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university.
Q: Our Catholic workplace has begun the practice of having “Liturgies of the Word” which consist of an opening prayer, Scripture reading, psalm, Gospel, intercessions and closing prayer. My initial thought was that the Liturgy of the Word was always a component of another liturgy and did not exist on its own, because on its own it lacks certain other liturgical features. If we are gathering out of a desire for common prayer, the Church seems to have other appropriate practices and devotions that meet that need without severing the Liturgy of the Word from a broader liturgical action. So should it exist on its own? — M.C., Toronto
A: I would say that a distinction is in order. There are two modes in which a celebration of the Word may take place. One is a strictly liturgical form in which the celebration of the Word takes place on Sunday (or far more rarely, weekdays) in churches where Mass cannot be celebrated due to a lack of priests. Within these celebrations Communion is sometimes also offered.
Another mode, which appears to be that of our reader, is a devotional exercise which is inspired by the liturgy, may use liturgical models, but is not in itself officially a liturgical act. These devotional acts are not necessarily carried out in churches.
Many bishops’ conferences and dioceses have issued directories that make concrete applications of the general norms issued by the Holy See. For example, the Canadian ritual has the following to say about Sunday celebrations of the Word:
“A true celebration of the Word
“The Canadian ritual for Sunday celebrations which has developed in these circumstances is not an adapted form of Mass, but an authentic celebration of the Word of God, with its own proper features. It is characterized by an enthronement of God’s Word, the full use of the Sunday readings and psalm, a homily that reflects upon the Word, intercessions that arise from having heard it, and a great prayer of praise to God in thanksgiving that comes normally from the Scriptures. This Sunday celebration of the Word is truly liturgy. It celebrates and makes present the saving action of Christ the Head among his people, and gives strength to the work of his Body, the Church. Gathered on that day when the Church throughout the world keeps memory of the Risen Lord, the faithful of a particular community proclaim the Father’s glory, through the Son, in the communion of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, a particular assembly that gathers to celebrate God’s Word always celebrates this liturgy in union with the Church universal. The assembly shows its veneration for the Word of God, the same kind of veneration, the Church teaches, that is due to the Body of the Lord, for in both cases it is Christ himself who is venerated. In the proclamation and hearing of the Word of God Christ becomes truly present to his people, for the Church teaches clearly that Christ is present in his Word, since it is always He himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Thus, even without communion, the presence of Christ is realized in both the assembly that celebrates and the Word that is proclaimed.”
Regarding the possibility of weekday celebrations, the bishops are not in favor:
“Whatever may be the considerations relative to Sunday worship, nothing in the relevant documents justifies applying to weekdays the liturgical provisions regarding the absence of a priest on Sunday. This would be the case for urban and rural areas equally. The Directory, for example, quite clearly envisages only the situation of Sunday, where people would otherwise be deprived of the opportunity to celebrate the Lord’s Day liturgically. The Directory‘s provisions for Sunday are based on the assumption of a real and serious need, not on convenience. Again it should be said that what is of paramount importance here is that the celebration of the Word is not presented, nor does it come to be regarded, as an alternative to the Eucharist. On weekdays in urban areas, daily Mass is usually readily available in nearby parishes. If it is not, or if for any reason there is a need to provide a liturgical service other than the Eucharist on weekdays, Morning or Evening Prayer will always be fitting, whether the situation is urban or rural. Indeed, the daily parish Liturgy of the Hours is fully appropriate even when the Eucharist is celebrated.”
Although these documents do not refer to the kind of devotional act to which our reader refers, they do throw light on some aspects of the question. The first text clarifies that a celebration of the Word can exist on its own and not just as a part of another liturgical celebration. The second text shows a marked preference for the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours over a celebration of the Word.
This does not mean that a Catholic group cannot celebrate the Word of God in a private ceremony. But it reminds Catholics that we already have, in the Liturgy of the Hours, a fully approved celebration of God’s Word which forms an integral part of the Church’s liturgy. A Catholic who individually or with others celebrates a part of the Divine Office actively participates in the prayer of the entire Church.
There are some documents, however, above all the Rite for the Christian Initiation of Adults (Nos. 85-89), which propose celebrations of the Word of God and propose models which could be used by other groups:
“For the celebrations of the word of God that are held specially for the benefit of the catechumens (see no. 82), the following structure (nos. 86-89) may be used as a model.
“86. Song: An appropriate song may be sung to open the celebration.
“87. Readings: One or more readings from Scripture, chosen for their relevance to the formation of the catechumens, are proclaimed by a baptized member of the community.
“88. Homily: A brief homily that explains and applies the readings should be given.
“89. Concluding Rites: The celebration of the word may conclude with a minor exorcism (no. 94) after the homily or with a blessing of the catechumens (no. 97) or with both […].”
This scheme clearly presupposes the presence of an ordained minister so some adaptations would have to be made in a workplace environment. The scheme mentioned by our reader’s question could also constitute a valid outline, and there are probably several other models as well.
However, I would personally recommend to this Catholic workplace to consider instead taking up the practice of praying the Divine Office.
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Readers may send questions to [email protected]. Please put the word “Liturgy” in the subject field. The text should include your initials, your city and your state, province or country. Father McNamara can only answer a small selection of the great number of questions that arrive.
FORUM: What Precisely Is the Gospel?
Many Evangelicals pride themselves on the fact that they can succinctly sum up the Good News in a way that people find compelling and helpful, whereas many Catholics, it seems, get tongue-tied
2 Auxiliaries Named for Westminster
One a Native of Northern Ireland, the Other a Former Anglican
Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Paul McAleenan and Msgr. John Wilson as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Westminster, England.
Paul McAleenan was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1951 and was ordained a priest in 1985. He has served in a number of pastoral roles in the Archdiocese of Westminster, including parish vicar and parish priest. He is currently canon of Westminster Cathedral.
John Wilson was born in Sheffield, England, in 1968, was baptised in the Anglican Communion and received in the Catholic Church in 1985. He was ordained a priest in 1995. He holds a bachelor’s degree in theology and religious studies from the University of Leeds, England, a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, a licentiate in moral theology from the Alphonsianum of Rome and a doctorate in ethics from the University of Durham, England. He has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles in the Diocese of Leeds, including parish vicar, professor of moral theology, episcopal vicar for evangelisation, and apostolic administrator. He is currently parish priest in Wakefield, Yorkshire. In 2011 he was named Chaplain of His Holiness.
The Archdiocese of Westminster has a population of close to 5 million, but with only 485,000 Catholics. They are served by about 600 priests, 18 permanent deacons and more than 1,200 religious.
Lebanese Archbishop: We Have Always Known ISIS Is a Danger to the Whole World
Asks for More Help in Keeping Christians in Their Homeland
This report is contributed by Oliver Maksan and Clare Creegan of Aid to the Church in Need.
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A Lebanese archbishop has called on Europe to rethink the conflict in Syria following the attacks in Paris.
Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop Issam John Darwish of Zahle and Furzol in Lebanon said he believed the attacks in France were inevitable.
“We have always known that ISIS is a danger to the whole world. But Europe hasn’t taken it seriously,” he said.
The archbishop said that the attacks by the Islamist terrorist organisation Daesh (ISIS) should cause Europe to rethink its policy with regards to the Syrian conflict.
Archbishop Darwish called for greater action, adding: “It’s time to fight ISIS together with the Syrian government: “Only then will we be able to see how to move on in Syria.”
The day before the attacks in Paris where 130 people died, more than 40 people were killed and hundreds injured in the Lebanese capital of Beirut by Daesh militants.
“We here in Lebanon feel the pain of the French people. But the French and the world must also feel our pain.”
The archbishop said he believes that France and the rest of Europe are still in danger from extremists while fighting continues in Syria. “The young men are fighting in Syria, they undergo brainwashing there,” he explained. “They return to Europe and are no longer able to live without struggle and that is very dangerous.”
Archbishop Darwish also expressed concern about the large number of refugees fleeing from the Middle East seeking safety in Europe, and stressed the importance of helping Christians to remain in their homeland.
The decision of the European governments to accept so many refugees “has given a reason to many to leave the region, including Christians,” he said. “It would be better to help the people here in the region; we need them here.”
The Melkite Archdiocese of Zahle and Furzol near the Syrian border is currently supporting 800 Christian refugee families from Syria with the help of ACN. Archbishop Darwish thanked the charity for all the support it had given, saying: “Without the generosity of the benefactors we wouldn’t be able to do what we are doing.”
As numbers of refugees have risen, ACN has increased financial aid for Church projects in Lebanon. In 2014, the charity provided more than £700,000 to support 45 projects in the country, with more than half helping displaced people.
Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. www.churchinneed.org (USA); www.acnuk.org (UK); www.aidtochurch.org (AUS); www.acnireland.org (IRL); www.acn-aed-ca.org (CAN) www.acnmalta.org (Malta)
Pope Francis Appoints New Director General of Vatican Bank
During Brief Visit to IOR Today, Pontiff Announced Dr. Gian Franco Mammi Would Be Bank’s Director
Pope Francis has visited the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), also known as the Vatican Bank, and appointed Dr. Gian Franco Mammi its new director general.
According to a statement from the Holy See Press Office, the Pontiff met with the Board of Superintendence for about 20 minutes this morning, at which time he announced he was appointing then vice-director, Dr. Mammi, to be the institute’s new director general. Until a new vice-director is nominated, Dr. Mammi will be assisted for the time being by Dr. Giulio Mattietti.
According to its website, the IOR was founded on June 27, 1942, by Papal Decree, and strives “to serve the global mission of the Catholic Church by protecting and growing the assets of and providing worldwide payment services to the Holy See and related entities, religious orders, other Catholic institutions, clergy, employees of the Holy See and the accredited diplomatic corps.” Regulated by the “Autorita di Informazione Finanziari” (AIF), the financial supervisory body for the Vatican City State, the IOR is situated exclusively on the sovereign territory of the Vatican State. Its purpose is set by its Statute, which was amended by Pope John Paul II in 1990, and related by-laws, and is to provide for the custody and administration of goods transferred or entrusted to the Institute by physical or juridical persons, designated for religious works or charity. The IOR can accept deposits of assets from entities or persons of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State.
Pope Francis, along with his predecessor, have been working toward increased transparency within the Vatican’s financial structures and matters, which can be evidenced by Francis’ creation of the Secretariat of the Economy, headed by prefect Australian Cardinal George Pell. (D.C.L.)
On the NET:
IOR’s Website: http://www.ior.va
FORUM: ‘We Must Be Ready’
Cardinal Dolan Publishes Reflection Saying Since We Won’t Know If End of World Is Coming, Be Prepared
The following is a reflection of Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, entitled ‘We Must Be Ready’ Published on November 16th, it is from Cardinal Dolan’s blog available on his website:
We Must Be Ready
Is the end of the world coming?
When? Beats me…
Jesus was blunt about the end of the world, and that He would come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. That we know.
He was not blunt about when this was going to happen. In fact, He confessed that even He did not know! Such knowledge belongs only to His Father in heaven, He informed us.
Yes, as God’s Word teaches us, as proclaimed in our readings at Mass these days of November, there would be “signs” of the end of the world. But, the ones He lists – war, earthquakes, famines, calamities – apply to almost every era in human history.
So, we do know that that end of the world is coming, but we don’t know when. What we do know for sure is that we must be ready!
You know, because you’ve been confronted by them, that other religions do interpret the exhortations of Jesus about the final days with much more precision. Books and movies always find this bantering about the end-times very fascinating.
We Catholics figure there’s not much use trying to calculate the calendar, and can better use our times being prepared.
A woman I know tells me she approaches ever day as if it could be her last. She makes sure she is at peace with God, in the state of grace, has forgiven anyone who has offended her, asked pardon from those she may have hurt, including the Lord, and “is ready.” She is wise, as she knows Jesus could call her personally, or the entire world, at any time.
I learned in second grade a prayer Sister recommended to us before we fall asleep: “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul! Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony! Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you. Amen.”
Link to Original Blog post: http://cardinaldolan.org/index.php/we-must-be-ready/