Tej Francis


Pope Francis ordains 16 priests in Bangladesh

(CNA/EWTN News) Celebrating Mass in the Bangladeshi capital on Friday, Pope Francis ordained 16 men to the priesthood. “Beloved brothers and sisters: because these our sons … are now to be advanced to the Order of priests, consider carefully the nature of the rank in the Church to which they are about to be raised,” he exhorted the crowd in his homily, which is that provided in the Roman Pontifical.

The Dec. 1 Mass was said at Suhrawardy Udyan, a park and national memorial in Dhaka. “Our great Priest himself, Jesus Christ, chose certain disciples to carry out publicly in his name, and on behalf of mankind, a priestly office in the Church … priests are established co-workers of the Order of Bishops, with whom they are joined in the priestly office and with whom they are called to the service of the people of God,” the Pope preached.

“After mature deliberation, these, our brothers, are now to be ordained to the priesthood in the Order of the presbyterate, so as to serve Christ the Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd, by whose ministry his body, that is, the Church, is built and grows into the people of God, a holy temple.” He reflected that the newly ordained would be consecrated “to preach the Gospel, to shepherd God’s people, and to celebrate the sacred Liturgy, especially the Lord’s sacrifice.”

“Let the holiness of your lives be a delightful fragrance to Christ’s faithful, so that by word and example you may build up the house which is God’s Church,” he added. Having finished the exemplar homily from the Pontifical, Pope Francis then addressed extemporaneously the crowd attending the Mass.

Yangon, Burma

The difficult life of a Catholic missionary in Burma


(ACI Prensa) As Pope Francis continues his visit to Burma – also known as Myanmar – this week, he is encountering a country where life for Catholics can be difficult. Just 1.3 percent of the population in Burma is Catholic, and while freedom of religion exists on paper, evangelizing in the majority Buddhist country is met with obstacles.

In an interview published by the Pontifical Missionary Works, a Spanish missionary who has been in Burma for seven years described life in the country. He spoke anonymously, to avoid jeopardizing his mission.

“The presence of foreign missionaries is not allowed. They’re afraid you’ll proselytize,” he said. “In fact, the brothers from native Burmese communities, even though they are recognized as such, officially they cannot evangelize. There are almost no conversions here; the growth of Christianity is mostly from births.”

But those who are Catholic are enthusiastic about their faith. The missionary said they expect some 300,000 people to attend the papal events with Pope Francis, out of about 700,000 Catholics in the country.

“Since the people are poor and it’s very expensive to travel to the capital, the Church is making a major effort so the faithful can attend the events,” he explained, adding that Bishop Charles Bo of Rangoon wrote to all the parishes, dioceses, congregations and bishops asking them to facilitate getting the people to the events. “We all collaborated financially to be able to support transportation,” and even “Buddhist monks offered their facilities to take in the pilgrims,” he said.

Ultimately, he remains hopeful about the future of the Catholic Church in Burma.



Iraqi Christians tell UN Christian presence is key to regional stability


(Crux) In the midst of the U.S. bishops’ “Solidarity in Suffering” campaign, designed as a Week of Awareness and Education for Persecuted Christians, leaders from Iraq on Thursday urged the United Nations and the international community to recognize Christians as key to stabilizing the Middle East.

The Holy See’s Mission to the United Nations, the Knights of Columbus, and the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee on Thursday co-sponsored a UN panel called “Preserving Pluralism and Diversity in the Nineveh Region,” a discussion focused on improving the conditions for minority communities who have been previously driven out of the region and establishing a framework to allow them to return, settle, and prosper.

In 2014, the Islamic State pillaged the Nineveh Plains, a region in northeast Iraq that has historically been inhabited predominantly by Christian communities. While ISIS has now been driven out and defeated, the situation remains fragile with many ethnic and religious minorities unsure whether they should risk returning and current residents considering if the worst is still to come.

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, apostolic nuncio to the United Nations, chaired the meeting and said the Holy See was committed to “ensuring the conditions for them [Iraqi minorities] to return to their places of origin and live in dignity and safety with the basic social, political, and economic frameworks necessary to ensure to community cohesion.”



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