Category Archives: World

GREAT FIGURES OF THE MISSIONARY WORK – Bengal and the Kingdom of the Dragon (36)

– Joaquim Magalhães de Castro

Upon our arrival we were indeed intrigued with a small bonfire in the middle of the road that a middle-aged man at times revived with the help of a long stick. It is, as Sangay reports, a ritual of cremation known among peoples of Tibetan origin as “fova.” When some member of these communities dies, part of his personal objects is distributed to the most needy, while the rest is burned as evidence of total detachment from the material things of this world. During their sojourn in the kingdom, the two Portuguese priests must have witnessed ceremonials of the sort, for Estevão Cacela gives us news of this and other similar practices. Concerning the “fova,” for example, he writes: “After the death of a man they divide what they find in him with the most of the people in order that his soul goes well in the other life, and those who were absent at the time of its death bring to the king the main things of the deceased and with them they make their prayers.”

HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE – Vatican releases details on Protection of Minors Meeting

(Vatican News) The Director ad interim of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, on Wednesday provided journalists with further information regarding “The protection of minors in the Church” Meeting, to be held in the Vatican from 21 to 24 February 2019.

FILIPINOS SET TO ATTEND WORLD YOUTH DAY – Young people from around the world converge on Panama City for World Youth Day 2019

FEATURED IMAGE: Delegates from the Philippines during the previous World Youth Day in Poland in 2016. (Photo by R Lagarde, CBCPNews)

– Robin Gomes

(Vatican News) Young people from around the world are getting ready to join the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day (WYD) in less than a fortnight in Panama city, including a contingent from the Philippines.

News Briefs

– Tej Francis



(AsiaNews)  The Maronite Patriarch, Card. Beshara Raï, this week inaugurated the Church of St. John the Evangelist, within the convent of St. Savior of the Lebanese Missionary order (Oml-Ghosta-Kesrouan). The ceremony took place in the presence of the Qatari ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammad Hassan Jaber al-Jaber, as special representative of the Emir of Qatar Tamim ben Hamad al-Thani, who personally financed the construction of the place of worship.

The church is located in the Kesrouan, one of the administrative divisions of Mount Lebanon, in the center of the country. It is the first of a series of projects covering a total area of 1700 square meters and also includes two other blocks that include a convent, a library, a sports center, underground parking, rooms, an amphitheater, lounges, bars and kitchen.

Speaking at the inauguration, the ambassador of Qatar stressed the importance of Islamic-Christian dialogue, of which the emir has been “a fervent supporter” for decades. He then recalled the construction of churches in the Gulf country and the over 200 thousand Christians living in Doha. Finally, the diplomat assured that despite the serious diplomatic and institutional crisis with Riyadh, the country will remain faithful to the commitments made and the economic investments signed.



(AsiaNews) Card John Tong Hon has been appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Hong Kong “with the responsibility of governing it during its vacancy and until further notice” by the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, under whose authority the diocese has been placed.

Card Tong, 79, is bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, having led the Diocese from 2009 to 2017. The cardinal is among the architects of dialogue with China and among the most positive supporters of the Sino-Vatican agreement. The appointment of an apostolic administrator became necessary following the death of Mgr Michael Yeung Ming-cheung on 3 January.

Several faithful wonder why the Auxiliary Bishop of Hong Kong, Mgr Joseph Ha Chi-shing, was not appointed. In their view, the choice of Card Tong and the exclusion of Mgr Ha is due to the desire of the Vatican and the Diocese to avoid frictions with China. Mgr Ha is known for his support for the release of jailed Chinese bishops, vigils in memory of those killed in Tiananmen, and support for the territory’s demands for democracy.

In reality, according to some priests, Card Tong was picked because of the need for a “neutral” apostolic administrator, someone who is not among the possible candidates for the ordinary episcopate of Hong Kong. This means that Mgr Ha is a possible candidate for such a post.

On Saturday, together with the appointment of the new apostolic administrator, Pope Francis sent a telegram of condolences to Hong Kong for the death of Mgr Yeung.



(Crux)  In a recent interview with the Italian broadcast network TV2000, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said Christian/Muslim relations has been a priority for Francis since the beginning of his papacy and it will continue to be a priority in 2019, seen mostly through trips the pope is taking to Islamic countries.

“The pope’s attention toward the Arab world is due to the difficulties which today are found in relations between Christianity and Islam, with the tragic drifts of terrorism and religious fundamentalism,” Parolin said in the interview.

Francis’s keen attention to Catholic-Muslim relations was showcased by the fact that his first international trip after being elected to the papacy in 2013 was a May 2014 visit to the Holy Land. Since then, dialogue with Islam has continued to be a strong emphasis for the pope in his travels, including a visit to Turkey in November 2014, to the Central African Republic in 2015 and to Egypt in the spring of 2017, all of which have a Muslim majority.

Francis’s looming Feb. 3-5 trip to the United Arab Emirates and subsequent outing to Morocco March 30-31 are further signs that dialogue with the Islamic world will continue to be a strong priority.

GREAT FIGURES OF THE MISSIONARY WORK – Bengal and the Kingdom of the Dragon (35)

– Joaquim Magalhães de Castro

In the course of our conversation, Sangay Dorji, while bringing up again the episode of the robbery of the priests, tells us an extraordinary story. According to him, after the robbery, the thieves would have tied the feet and hands of the the Portuguese priests, tossing them after into the river. But instead of following the current, as was supposed to happen, their bodies floated in the direction of the spring, proof not only of their innocence but even of a possible holiness.


– Tej Francis



(CNA/EWTN News) A Nigerian priest who was kidnapped on Christmas Eve recalled his experience after Mass this week, saying prayer is what saved him. Father Cajetan Apeh, a recently ordained priest assigned to St. Theresa’s Parish in Anam, was kidnapped along with the church’s pastor on Dec. 24. The two priests were ambushed while returning from gathering supplies in preparation for the visit of Cardinal Francis Arinze on Christmas Day.

According to Vanguard Nigeria, Apeh described the four-day ordeal to the congregation after Mass on January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Mass took place at St. Joseph’s Church in Enugu Ezike.  Apeh said the priests, who initially thought it to be robbery, were abducted by four Fulani herdsmen with AK 47s and left to survive with very little food and water. Apeh said the kidnappers had tried to hold the priests for ransom and were communicating with their superiors.

Several authorities in Anambra, including the Police Mobile Force and Federal Special Anti-robbery Squad, had been involved with a massive search for the priests. As a result of the joint operations, the abductors were forced to release the two men on Dec. 27. Abeh said prayer was a major factor in their release, Vanguard Nigeria reported.  “Due to your prayers and those of others throughout the world, we were released to our superior who travelled to Anam from Enugu, unaccompanied by any policeman or security agent.”



(CNA) The 116th Congress was gavelled into session on January 3, bringing almost 100 new lawmakers into office, and with Catholics making up nearly 30 percent of the congressional freshman class.  Catholics account for 28 of the 96 new members of Congress, including newly-elected Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), the only Catholic freshman in the Senate. In total, there are 163 Catholics sitting in either the Senate or House of Representatives, a drop of five from the 115th Congress, but still more than 30 percent of the legislature.

According to figures from Pew Research, the new session sees an end to what had previously been a near even split of Catholic members between the parties in the House of Representatives, with 86 Catholic Democrats now serving alongside 55 Republicans. Catholic education also played a role in shaping many members of the new Congress. According to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, one out of 10 members of Congress graduated from a Jesuit institution, including 12 Senators and 43 members of the House of Representatives.



(Agenzia Fides)  Seven Christians were taken to prison for religious reasons. As reported by Agenzia Fides, on December 29, 2018, a group of nine police officers, led by the police chief of the district of Phin, stormed a Christmas church service in Nakanong Village in Savannakhet and arrested 3 leaders of the local evangelical Christian community: Akeo, Kert, and Somwang. The arrested were charged with illegal gathering for Christmas church service without permission.

As reported to Fides by the NGO “Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom” (HRWLRF), the three church leaders are detained in the Phin district police headquarters. Soon after, the police returned to the Nakanong church and detained four more Christian men (Boulai, Champee, Agàe and Ayoung). Security forces also demolished the stage, cut off the power line, destroyed the sound system, and seized three mobile phones.

The NGO HRWLRF urges the Lao government to respect the right of the Lao people to religious freedom and the accompanying rights as guaranteed in the Lao constitution and the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Laos in 2009. The NGO also urges the Lao government to “release immediately and unconditionally the seven Lao Christians and pay for the damages to the physical properties of the church”.


– Aldo Maria Valli

Nearly 40 percent of millenials living in the UK are unable to tell who is the baby in Bethlehem that is born at Christmas. This is what Lifesitenews writes, citing a recent survey. The research, reported by the Christian Post and conducted by OnePoll, revealed that about 38 percent of British citizens between the ages of 21 and 28 do not know the identity of the child in the crib. A similar percentage, about 37 percent, cannot say who Mary and Joseph are and less than 10 percent can say what the gifts are made by the wise men. What’s more, it turns out that many think that Santa Claus has some role in the story of the child born in Bethlehem.

IN HIS OWN WORDS – The Late Bishop Michael Yeung Of Hong Kong

– Jasmin Yiu

The Most Reverend Michael YEUNG Ming-cheung, Bishop of the Diocese of Hong Kong, passed away due to liver failure on 3 January 2019, aged 73. Fountain of Love and Life, a Chinese Catholic media based in Canada, recently released a video interview with Bishop Yeung which was done in 2014, where he shared his journey of being Vicar General at that time. With permission from FLL, O CLARIM brings to our readers a translation of that interview.


Aurelio Porfiri

In the past weeks I had been reading an interesting book about the Rosary. The book was written by the American Father Donald Calloway, belonging to the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Father Calloway is a sort of world expert on the Rosary, this prayer that is also an invincible weapon against the enemies of our spiritual life. So I put to him a few questions.

BENGAL AND THE KINGDOM OF THE DRAGON (34) – Great Figures of the Missionary Work

Joaquim Magalhães de Castro

Sangay takes us directly to the local monastery, the Chhuka Dzongkhag, after decades of total carelessness, recently rehabilitated. Seriously wrecked by an earthquake in 1978 – the cracks in the walls of a surrounding stupa is a good proof of it – it has been in imminent danger of overthrow all these years, calling into question the safety of the children of a nearby school that made of that ground their ball field. However, in the last fifty years a few researchers visited Chapcha – “two Japanese and two subjects of another country, I do not remember which” – and in 1988, a ray of hope would emerge with the interest manifested by Pierre Richard, representative in Pondicherry of the prestigious French School of the Far East, who in Chapcha carried out a study and without success tried to obtain funds of the Eliseu for a rehabilitation that would arrive already in the second decade of the 21st century. This, after a crash seriously injured one of the schoolboys.